Famous only as the “Last Emperor of China.”
As the Hsuan Tung Emperor he was a cipher. His hasty elevation as heir to the throne at age three and a few days later to emperor, and then only three years later forced to abdicate (1912)…this was hardly an auspicious reign. Known by his personal name, Pu Yi, he spent many years living with his diminished court in the Forbidden City. He took refuge in Japan in the late 1920s.
During World War II the Japanese established him as the puppet emperor of Manchuria. Imprisoned by the Russians in 1945, he was repatriated to China in the 1950s, and died in 1967.
Portrait by artist-historian George Stuart.
Courtesy Museum of Ventura County.
Images © copyright by Peter d'Aprix