Sun Erniang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sun Erniang
Water Margin character
First appearanceChapter 17
Nickname"Female Yaksha"
Rank103rd, Strong Star (地壯星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Scout leader of Liangshan
OriginTavern owner
Simplified Chinese孙二娘
Traditional Chinese孫二娘
PinyinSūn Èrniáng
Wade–GilesSun Erh-niang

Sun Erniang (literally "Second Sister Sun") is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels in Chinese literature. Nicknamed "Female Yaksha", she ranks 103rd among the 108 Stars of Destiny and 67th among the 72 Earthly Fiends.


An illustration of Sun Erniang by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

The novel describes Sun Erniang as a fierce woman with a vicious and murderous look on her face. She has strong arms and legs that resemble clubs. As she dresses oddly (often revealing her dudou) and uses heavy cosmetics, she resembles a yaksha in appearance and thus earns herself the nickname "Female Yaksha". She is well-trained in martial arts by her father.

One day, while passing by Cross Slope (十字坡; at the intersection of present-day Shen County, Shandong and Fan County, Henan), Sun Erniang's father encounters Zhang Qing, who tries to rob him. After defeating Zhang Qing in a fight, Sun Erniang's father recognises his potential and decides to accept him as his martial arts apprentice. Zhang Qing later marries his master's daughter.

Sun Erniang and Zhang Qing operate a tavern at Cross Slope, where they target unwary travellers and serve them food and wine spiked with drugs that will make them unconscious. Once their victims are out cold, the couple rob them, kill them and sometimes use their flesh to make fillings for baozi, which they then serve to other unsuspecting customers. While Zhang Qing spends most of his time farming, Sun Erniang runs the tavern with a few assistants.

Meeting Lu Zhishen[edit]

When Lu Zhishen passes by Cross Slope after seeing Lin Chong safely to Cangzhou, he stops at the tavern for a break and unsuspectingly consumes the drugged wine. Just when Sun Erniang is about to butcher Lu Zhishen, Zhang Qing returns to the tavern, recognises Lu Zhishen and stops his wife. After they revive Lu Zhishen, Zhang Qing becomes sworn brothers with him and recommends him to take shelter at Mount Twin Dragons. Lu Zhishen later takes over the outlaw stronghold there and becomes one of the leaders of the outlaw band.

Encounters with Wu Song[edit]

Later, when Wu Song passes by Cross Slope on his way to exile in Mengzhou, he takes a short break at the tavern. Although he senses there is something fishy about the tavern, he briefly flirts with Sun Erniang and pretends to consume the drugged wine. When his two unwary escorts become unconscious, he plays along and pretends to be knocked out too. Just as Sun Erniang and her assistants come to lift him, he gets up and easily overpowers Sun Erniang in a fight. Around the same time, Zhang Qing comes back and stops the fight. The couple apologise to Wu Song after learning of his true identity, and treat him like an honoured guest. Zhang Qing also becomes sworn brothers with Wu Song.

Wu Song later gets into trouble in Mengzhou and goes on the run after killing corrupt officials who tried to murder him. Along the way, he encounters Sun Erniang and Zhang Qing again and gain their help. They help him disguise himself as an unshaven Buddhist pilgrim and recommend him to join the outlaw band at Mount Twin Dragons. Sun Erniang and Zhang Qing later also join the outlaw band at Mount Twin Dragons. They follow Song Jiang and the other outlaws back to Liangshan Marsh after the battle of Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong) and join the larger outlaw band there.

Campaigns and death[edit]

Sun Erniang becomes one of the scout leaders of Liangshan after the 108 Stars of Destiny come together in what is called in the Grand Assembly. She and her husband are posted at the tavern west of Liangshan. They are tasked with making preparations to receive the imperial envoy after the outlaws secure amnesty from Emperor Huizong.

Sun Erniang follows the Liangshan heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces on Song territory after they received amnesty from the emperor. She is slain by an enemy officer, Du Wei, at the battle of Qingxi County (清溪縣; present-day Chun'an County, Zhejiang) during the campaign against Fang La's rebel forces. Emperor Huizong awards her the posthumous title "Lady of Jingde Commandery" (旌德郡君) to honour her for her service to the Song Empire during the campaigns.


  • Buck, Pearl S. (2006). All Men are Brothers. Moyer Bell. ISBN 9781559213035.
  • Ichisada, Miyazaki (1993). Suikoden: Kyoko no naka no Shijitsu (in Japanese). Chuo Koronsha. ISBN 978-4122020559.
  • Keffer, David. "Outlaws of the Marsh: A Somewhat Less Than Critical Commentary". Poison Pie Publishing House. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  • Li, Mengxia (1992). 108 Heroes from the Water Margin (in Chinese). EPB Publishers. p. 209. ISBN 9971-0-0252-3.
  • Miyamoto, Yoko (2011). "Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits". Demystifying Confucianism. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  • Shibusawa, Kou (1989), Bandit Kings of Ancient China, Koei
  • Zhang, Lin Ching (2009). Biographies of Characters in Water Margin. Writers Publishing House. ISBN 978-7506344784.