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1869: An Dehai, beloved eunuch

September 12th, 2018 Headsman

The imperial eunuch An Dehai was beheaded in Jinan on this date in 1869.

He was so much the favorite that it’s been clained that the redoubtable Empress Dowager Cixi had outright fallen in love with the courtier.

This was a circumstance destined to sharpen both An’s confidence in his position, and the blades of the inevitable enemies within the Forbidden City who were keen to be rid of him.

In 1869, the eunuch was dispatched to Nanjing as Cixi’s envoy to arrange the wedding gowns for the marriage of her son, the titular boy-emperor in whose name Cixi wielded power. On this trip, Cixi openly flaunted the protocol requiring eunuchs keep themselves inconspicuous, and also allegedly used the occasion to feather his bed with a bit of opportunistic extortion.

This, at any rate, was the report that an imperial governor relayed back to Prince Gong, who had once helped Cixi seize power in the state but had now become her rival. Gong got a quorum of the Grand Council to sign off on An’s execution while Cixi was off at the opera. She was so bereaved to discover his fate that she had his belongings lovingly gathered up for permanent safekeeping.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Beheaded,Capital Punishment,China,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Politicians,Power

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One thought on “1869: An Dehai, beloved eunuch”

  1. Cixi was an incredibly gifted woman. She had mastered the Chinese classics, very difficult and very unusual for a woman in Imperial China, let alone a Manchu aristocrat.. The Emperor became attracted to her because of her intellect and finally made her his Third Empress, one of his consorts already having died. After his death the two Empresses seized power. But Cixi, like Mary Antoinette, liked the good life with costly shows the eunuchs organized for her. But it was innocent fun, no sex included. The eunuch liked girls but did not go for the Empress. The Chinese AND Manchus were not too fond of being ruled by Manchu Empresses and Chinese eunuchs and this eunuch suffered for it.

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