Zhang Rong‘s Cixi biography titled »EMPRESS DOWAGER CIXI: THE CONCUBINE WHO LAUNCHED MODERN CHINA«, Chapter 6, Loc 1365 on kindle claims:

Without the rigid etiquette, she realised, Prince Gong was too relaxed with her and was treating her in the patronising way he tended to treat all women, especially as she was young–still in her twenties. His behaviour irritated and angered her for some time, until one day in 1865 she exploded and in tremendous agitation fired him. She wrote a decree by hand, accusing him of ‘having too high an opinion of himself’, ‘strutting about and giving himself airs’ and, simply, being ‘full of rubbish’. This was one of the few decrees Cixi wrote in her own hand. Her writing was still poor, and her text was littered with solecisms.

In her typical style, Zhang Rong offers no references. I am certainly no good judge of literary Chinese, let alone the variant used in edicts. Yet I have seen many claims pro and contra Cixi‘s supposed lack of education. I would like to have access to the text, so as to be able to ask Chinese Professors about it.

So, how to get the text of this edict?

  • 1
    An almost necessary requirement when searching for Chinese historical documents is to use the Imperial Chinese regnal calendar. 1865 = 同治四年 (Fourth reigning year of the Tongzhi Emperor).
    – dROOOze
    Dec 23, 2019 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


This is the handwritten decree that it was referring to (relevant content boxed in red):

enter image description here

Text (with corrections; courtesy of https://kknews.cc/history/epbl22y.html)


  • Apologies to the community; I won't offer a translation for now (it's holiday season). Will come back to this when I have more time.
    – dROOOze
    Dec 23, 2019 at 10:55
  • 1
    Strange; the transcript looks different from the image (e.g. 諸多驕敖 is 諸多狂敖 in the image). Ugly calligraphy though haha! Dec 24, 2019 at 0:26
  • @congusbongus you’re right! I’ll recheck this when I can...
    – dROOOze
    Dec 24, 2019 at 0:53
  • @dROOOze Any idea, why the article doesn’t contain this image anymore? The image appears no more through tineye!!!
    – Ludi
    Feb 26, 2020 at 20:08

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