Consort Ban - Chinese Female Scholar and Poet during the Western Han Dynasty
Consort Ban (c. 48 BC? — c. 6 BC) called Ban Jieyu(Chinese: 班婕妤; Jieyu: a kind of concubine; Personal name unknown) in Chinese, was a Chinese scholar and poet during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 23).
She was a concubine of Emperor Cheng. She bore him two sons, but both died in infancy. Once she declined an invitation to ride in a palanquin because she feared to distract him from matters of state. She was also renowned as a great scholar, able to recite poems from the Shi Jing.
Because neither the Empress Xu nor Consort Ban produced him an heir, the Empress Dowager Wang Zhengjun encouraged him to take more concubines. Around 19 BC, however, Emperor Cheng took a liking to the dancing girl Zhao Feiyan and her sister Zhao Hede. They were both made concubines and he favored them over Empress Xu and Consort Ban. In 18 BC both the Empress and Consort Ban were accused of witchcraft. Empress Xu was put under house arrest away from court, but Consort Ban pleaded her case and was allowed to stay at court. She then choose to become a lady in waiting to the Empress Dowager, instead of remaining consort to the Emperor.
Consort Ban once saved her brother Ban Zhi from a charge of treason. Ban Zhi who was to become the father of the historian Ban Biao. He in turn had a son and a daughter, Ban Gu and Ban Zhao, who would complete their father's historic work Book of Han.
In her most famous poem, she compares herself to an autumn fan that is discarded. It deals with her sorrow at having been abandoned by the Emperor and is written in the Yuefu style of poetry.
Her poems were read for many centuries after her death.