Qin Ming

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Qin Ming
Water Margin character
Nickname "Fiery Thunderbolt"
Rank 7th, Fierce Star (天猛星) of 36 Heavenly Spirits
Vanguard General of the Five Tiger Generals of Liangshan
Origin Imperial general from Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong)
First appearance Chapter 34
Weapon Wolf-toothed mace (狼牙棒)
Simplified Chinese 秦明
Traditional Chinese 秦明
Pinyin Qín Míng
Wade–Giles Ch'in Ming
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Qin.

Qin Ming is a fictional character in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 7th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Fiery Thunderbolt".


Qin Ming is an imperial general serving in Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong). He earns his nickname "Fiery Thunderbolt" for his almost barbaric temper, which is continuously emphasised in the novel, and his thunderous voice. Qin Ming is peerless in the use of his wolf-toothed mace. The Water Margin describes him as having a physical appearance and characteristics almost similar to Zhang Fei.

In the early chapters of the novel, Qin Ming hears that Hua Rong of Qingfeng Fort has rebelled and become an outlaw. He is furious and volunteers to lead an army from Qingzhou to eliminate the outlaws on Mount Qingfeng. He engages Hua Rong in a duel but neither emerges the victor. Hua Rong feigns defeat and retreats to lure Qin Ming into an ambush. Qin Ming falls in the trap and is captured by the outlaws. Song Jiang tries to persuade Qin Ming to join them but Qin refuses and stays overnight at the stronghold on Mount Qingfeng.

Becoming an outlaw[edit]

The next day when Qin Ming returns to Qingzhou, he grows suspicious after seeing smoke but no travellers. When he reaches the outskirts of town, he finds that a village that was previously home to hundreds had been completely devastated by fire; the ground is littered with rubble and hundreds of scorched corpses. Upon reaching the city gates, Qin Ming, to his surprise, is reprimanded and denounced as a traitor by Qingzhou's governor Murong Yanda. Believing that Qin Ming had rebelled against him, Murong Yanda had Qin's entire family executed. Qin Ming is then driven back by a volley of arrows. Now seething with anger, Qin Ming meets Song Jiang and a few other outlaws on the road. They escort him back to Liangshan and explain how they disguised themselves as him and his troops and attacked Qingzhou the previous night while he was asleep. Initially furious, Qin Ming eventually comes to accept that his misfortune was predestined, and he is moved by the outlaws' courteous treatment towards him. His anger abates entirely after Song Jiang arranges for a marriage between Qin Ming and Hua Rong's younger sister as an act of "compensation" for Qin's losses.

Qin Ming is determined to devote the rest of his life to the Liangshan cause. He rides alone to Qingfeng Fort and succeeds in persuading Huang Xin to join the outlaw band. Huang Xin opens the gates of the fort and allows the outlaws to enter and capture the fort. Ranked one place below Lin Chong, Qin Ming later becomes one of the Five Tiger Generals of the Liangshan cavalry and plays an important role in the battles against Liangshan's enemies. In a later chapter after the battle of Qingzhou, he kills Murong Yanda to avenge his family.


After the Liangshan outlaws have been granted amnesty by the emperor, Qin Ming follows them on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and the rebel forces of Tian Hu, Wang Qing and Fang La, making great contributions to the nation. During the calamitous Fang La campaign, Qin Ming is assigned to lead an attack on Qingxi County. He encounters the enemy general Fang Jie and they engage in a man-on-man duel. Du Wei hurls his flying daggers at Qin Ming to distract him during the duel. Qin Ming is successful in dodging the daggers but he is distracted and Fang Jie seizes the opportunity to spear him. Qin Ming falls off his horse and dies.