Liang Hongyu

Liang Hongyu

Liang Hongyu (1102—1135 CE) was a Chinese commander and general during the Song Dynasty and the Jin-Song Wars. Her father, who was a respected army commander, taught his daughter how to fight and defend herself, and she became a master of the martial arts. She had incredible strength, and was a skilled archer. After her father failed in battle, she was forced to work as a slave. She was a woman wrestler, as women’s wrestling was a popular spectator sport during the Song Dynasty. As the women fought like male wrestlers (only in a loincloth), it was deemed indecent by the Ming Dynasty, and banned. This could be a reason why Ming historians thought that Liang had worked as a prostitute. Liang bought her own freedom, and married the army commander, Han Shizhong. He formed an army in order to stop the Jurchen invasion. She was appointed to general in his armies, and together they became the main force against the Jurchens, as many other armies and cities had fallen to the enemy, in including the old Song capital. Emperor Gaozong of the Song Dynasty established the new Chinese courts in southern China, rather than Northern. In 1129, a coup d’état was staged agains the emperor. Liang found out the details of the extended plan, managed to escape her imprisonment by the rebels, and also succeeded in disclosing all to her husband. He was able to crush the rebellion, and she was awarded the title “The Noble Lady of Yang”. It was independent from any of her husband’s titles, and she held it in her own right. In 1129, the Jurchens attacked the city of Hangzhou, and Liang led forces in order to ambush them. There were a series of naval battles on the Yangtze River, which the Chinese were victorious in (due to the brilliance of Liang). Her fleet were called “The Tiger Ships”, and kept the Jurchens trapped for more than a month.

Because of this victory, her husband received accolades and land in 1135, and they were assigned the task of rebuilding retaken fortresses, housing, and fields. During this time, Liang led many campaigns against the Jurchens. She won nearly every battle, and became quite feared among her enemies. A bounty was put on her head by the Jurchens. In order to retaliate against her, the Jurchens set up an ambush. On October 6th, 1135, Liang led a raid on one of their supply caravans. This was a trap, and her warriors soon had to face enemy forces that outnumbered them 10:1, as well as an extra Jurchen elite force. She led the charge against the enemy, but was volley with arrows. She continued, however, managing to take many of the enemy down with her, as well as break enemy formation, before she fell from her horse and died. Due to the high reward on her head, the Jurchens fought over her, cutting her to pieces to split the money and accolades. She was put on display, as a warning to the Chinese for three days, then, as respect to a fallen warrior, she was stitched up by the Jurchen leader, and sent back to the Song courts. She was posthumously awarded the title “The Heroic and Valiant Lady of Yang”, as well as a funeral of the highest honor, and a temple built in her name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liang_Hongyu

http://people.wku.edu/haiwang.yuan/China/tales/lianghongyu_b.htm

http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2012/07/lady-of-the-drums/

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