A Qing dynasty illustration of Lady Zhurong
Lady Zhurong, sometimes referred to as Madam Zhurong, is a fictional character in the 14th-century Chinese historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong. She was the wife of the Nanman chieftain Meng Huo, who controlled the lands in southern Shu Han. She claimed to be descended from the fire deity Zhurong, from whom she acquired her name. Zhurong was the only woman in the novel who took part in any of the fighting, battling against Shu forces alongside her husband.
In Romance of the Three Kingdoms
After her husband was defeated by the Shu general Ma Dai, Lady Zhurong took to battle herself and led a large army against a Shu unit. She wielded flying swords and managed to capture two Shu officers; Zhang Ni and Ma Zhong.
The following day she engaged in battle with Zhao Yun and Wei Yan, but both opponents quickly fled. Suspecting a trap, Zhurong did not give chase. The following day the same events happened; with both Shu officers retreating quickly. Again, Zhurong did not chase them, however, Wei Yan returned and hurled abuse at her. Enraged, she chased him, only to be led down a narrow valley where a trap lay waiting; entrapped in nets with her horse tripped by rope, Zhurong was ensnared.
Zhurong was brought to the Shu camp, and was treated well by Zhuge Liang, who offered her wine and severed her bonds. He then offered a proposal to Meng Huo; he would safely return Zhurong to the Nanman, if the two Shu officers Zhurong had recently captured would be released. Meng Huo agreed and Zhurong was returned to her husband.
Zhurong was captured another two times by the Shu army. The last time she was captured, she had marched alongside her husband and their army to finish off the Shu army as they had been falsely informed that their ally Wutugu's army had nearly obliterated the Shu forces. However, much to their dismay, Shu had actually routed Wutugu's army, and then they proceeded to capture Zhurong.
After finally submitting to Shu and pledging their allegiance, Meng Huo and Zhurong were released to continue their rule over the southern lands. They never rebelled again.
In popular culture
- Lady Zhurong appears as a playable character in Koei's Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi video game series. She is referred to as "Zhu Rong" in most of the games, with the exception of Warriors Orochi 3 and its expansions.
- In the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, there is a card named "Lady Zhurong, Warrior Queen" in the Portal Three Kingdoms set.