Gongsun Sheng

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Gongsun Sheng
Water Margin character
Nickname "Dragon in the Clouds"
入雲龍
Rank 4th, Leisure Star (天閒星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits
GongsunSheng.gif
Strategist of Liangshan
Origin Taoist
Ancestral home / Place of origin Jizhou (present-day Ji County, Tianjin)
First appearance Chapter 14
Weapon Sword, Taoist magic
Names
Simplified Chinese 公孙胜
Traditional Chinese 公孫勝
Pinyin Gōngsūn Shèng
Wade–Giles Kung-sun Sheng
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Gongsun.

Gongsun Sheng is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 4th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Dragon in the Clouds".

Background[edit]

The novel describes Gongsun Sheng as eight chi tall, with eyebrows resembling the Chinese character for "eight" (八), almond-like eyes and a noble appearance. A Taoist priest from Jizhou (薊州; present-day Ji County, Tianjin), he possesses the abilities to perform magic, summon the wind and rain, ride the mist and drive the clouds. Such is his sheer magical powers and mystique that he earns the nickname "Dragon in the Clouds". He wields an ancient sword made of copper.

Robbing the convoy of birthday gifts[edit]

Gongsun Sheng joins Chao Gai, Wu Yong, Liu Tang and the three Ruan brothers to form the "Righteous Seven". They disguise themselves as date traders and succeed in robbing the convoy of birthday gifts intended for the Imperial Tutor Cai Jing. The seven men are wanted by the authorities for the robbery and have no choice but to flee to Liangshan Marsh for refuge. Chao Gai replaces the incompetent and selfish Wang Lun as chief of Liangshan after the latter is killed by Lin Chong. Gongsun Sheng takes his place as the third leader of Liangshan.

At Liangshan[edit]

Gongsun Sheng makes numerous contributions to Liangshan in the subsequent battles against the enemies of Liangshan, but he misses his mother and decides to return home to visit her. He also seeks to retire from the Liangshan cause to study Taoism with Taoist Luo, a self-proclaimed immortal. Not long after Gongsun Sheng's departure, the outlaws attack Gaotangzhou (高唐州; around present-day Gaotang County, Liaocheng, Shandong) to rescue Chai Jin, who has been imprisoned by Gaotangzhou's governor, Gao Lian. Although Gao Lian's forces are no match for Liangshan, his mastery of sorcery and dark magic is sufficient to hold off the outlaws.

Song Jiang is worried and he sends Dai Zong and Li Kui to find Gongsun Sheng and bring him back to help them counter Gao Lian. After a sheer amount of determination and an attempt on the sage's life by Li Kui, the two of them succeed in persuading Taoist Luo to allow Gongsun Sheng to leave with them. Gongsun Sheng defeats Gao Lian with his superior magic and the outlaws break into Gaotangzhou and rescue Chai Jin. During the battle of Mount Mangdang (芒碭山; north of present-day Yongcheng, Shangqiu, Henan) against Fan Rui and his bandit gang, Gongsun Sheng makes yet another great contribution by breaking Fan's charms with his own more powerful magic. Fan Rui is defeated and he decides to join Liangshan and becomes Gongsun Sheng's apprentice.

Campaigns[edit]

Gongsun Sheng becomes one of the two chief strategists of Liangshan alongside Wu Yong. He follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong. During the campaign against the rebel leader Tian Hu, Gongsun Sheng scores a major victory by defeating Tian Hu's magician, Qiao Daoqing, thereby clearing an obstacle for the Liangshan heroes to eliminate Tian Hu. After the campaign against another rebel leader, Wang Qing, Gongsun Sheng retires to study Taoism and does not participate in the final campaign against Fang La. Gongsun Sheng refuses to accept an official post from the emperor in recognition of his achievements. Instead, he returns to his hometown in Jizhou, where he devotes the rest of his life to the study and practice of Taoism.

References[edit]