The tomb of Concubine Qi, buried near Emperor Gaozu, in Xianyang, Shaanxi
Qi Yi was a concubine of Liu Bang, who later became Emperor Gaozu. Lady Qi gave birth to a son named Ruyi who was later enfeoffed as Prince of Zhao. Emperor Gaozu’s eldest son, Liu Ying, had been appointed heir apparent, but he was a mild youth, unlike his father, and the emperor wanted to replace him with Ruyi as his heir apparent.
However, Liu Ying's mother Empress Lü Zhi, who hated Qi Yi deeply, was able to secure her son’s position as heir apparent, and when Emperor Gaozu died of illness in 195, Liu Ying ascended the throne. Empress Dowager Lu immediately had Lady Qi imprisoned in Yongxiang Palace. Lady Qi’s head was shaved, an iron ring was placed around her neck, she was dressed in prison clothes and was put to work pounding rice and herbs with a pestle.
Knowing that Lady Qi wanted to be close to her son, Empress Dowager Lu summoned Ruyi to the capital and murdered him with poisoned wine. She then put Lady Qi to a horrific death: she had her hands and feet cut off and her eyes gouged out; she had her deafened and made dumb by scouring her throat with poisoned wine.
Lady Qi was known as a very beautiful woman, a great songwriter, and weiqi (Go) player.
Qi Yi was a consort of Emperor Gaozu. She bore him a son Liu Ruyi.