Qin Ming

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Qin Ming
Water Margin character
An illustration of Qin Ming, by Chen Hongshou.
First appearance Chapter 34
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
Ancestral home / Place of origin Kaizhou (believed to be present-day Puyang, Henan)
Weapon Wolf-toothed mace (狼牙棒)
Simplified Chinese 秦明
Traditional Chinese 秦明
Pinyin Qín Míng
Wade–Giles Ch'in Ming

Qin Ming is a fictional character in 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 (青州; in present-day Shandong). His ancestral home is in Kaizhou (開州; believed to be present-day Puyang, Henan). He is nicknamed "Fiery Thunderbolt" because of his almost barbaric temper, which is continuously emphasised in the novel, and his thunderous voice. He is peerless in the use of his wolf-toothed mace.

When Qin Ming learns that Hua Rong, a general from Qingfeng Fort (清風寨; in present-day Qingzhou, Weifang, Shandong), has rebelled and joined the bandits on Mount Qingfeng (清風山; near Qingfeng Fort), he is furious and volunteers to lead an army from Qingzhou to eliminate the outlaws. He engages Hua Rong in a one-on-one duel but neither of them is able to overcome his opponent after several rounds of fighting. Hua Rong then feigns defeat and retreats to lure Qin Ming into a trap. Qin Ming falls for the ruse and ends up being captured by the outlaws. Song Jiang frees Qin Ming from his bonds, treats him with respect, and tries to persuade him to join them. Qin Ming declines politely and stays overnight in the bandit stronghold on Mount Qingfeng.

Becoming an outlaw[edit]

The next day, Qin Ming bids farewell to Song Jiang and the outlaws and returns to Qingzhou. On the way back, he sees that a village on the outskirts of Qingzhou has been completely devastated by fire and is littered with dead bodies. Upon reaching the city gates, he is denied entry and is denounced as a traitor by Murong Yanda, the governor of Qingzhou. The governor accuses him of rebelling and leading his men to attack the city the previous night, and has ordered the execution of Qin Ming's family members. Qin Ming tries to advance further but is driven back by a volley of arrows. Now seething with anger, he heads back to Mount Qingfeng and encounters Song Jiang and the outlaws along the way. They bring him to Liangshan Marsh and explain how they had disguised themselves as him and his soldiers and attacked Qingzhou the previous night while he was asleep in the stronghold. Qin Ming is initially furious after learning the truth, but eventually comes to accept that his misfortune was predestined. He decides to join the outlaw band at Liangshan because he feels touched by their sincerity and courteous treatment towards him. His anger abates entirely after Song Jiang arranges a marriage between him and Hua Rong's younger sister as an act of "compensation" for his 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 of the novel, after the Liangshan outlaws had defeated government forces and occupied Qingzhou, Qin Ming captures Murong Yanda and kills him to avenge his family.


After the Liangshan outlaws have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong, Qin Ming follows them on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and the rebel forces of Tian Hu, Wang Qing and Fang La. He makes great contributions during these campaigns. During the calamitous campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, Qin Ming is assigned to lead an attack on the enemy-controlled Qingxi County (清溪縣; present-day Anxi County, Quanzhou, Fujian). He encounters Fang La's nephew, Fang Jie, and engages him in a man-on-man duel. Fang Jie's deputy, Du Wei, hurls his flying daggers at Qin Ming to distract him during the duel. Qin Ming manages to avoid the daggers but is caught off guard by Fang Jie, who seizes the opportunity to spear him to death.