Sun Erniang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sun Erniang
Water Margin character
First appearance Chapter 17
Nickname "Female Yaksha"
Rank 103rd, Strong Star (地壯星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Scout leader of Liangshan
Origin Tavern owner
Simplified Chinese 孙二娘
Traditional Chinese 孫二娘
Pinyin Sūn Èrniáng
Wade–Giles Sun Erh-niang

Sun Erniang (lit. "Second Sister Sun") is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. She ranks 103rd of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 67th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. She is nicknamed "Female Yaksha".


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. She is well dressed and uses heavy cosmetics, which make her resemble a yaksha. She is hence nicknamed "Female Yaksha". She is highly skilled in martial arts.

Sun Erniang's father passes by Cross Slope (十字坡; in present-day Fan County, Puyang, Henan) one day and encounters Zhang Qing, who attempts to rob him. After defeating Zhang Qing in the fight, he recognises Zhang's interest in martial arts and accepts Zhang as an apprentice. Zhang Qing marries Sun Erniang later.

The couple run a tavern at Cross Slope, where they lure unwary travellers into their tavern and knock them out by adding drugs into their food and drinks. They kill their victims and rob them of their valuables. Sometimes, they even make meat buns with human flesh fillings from their victims and serve them to other customers. Sun Erniang runs the inn most of the time while Zhang Qing roams around the area and mingles with other jianghu figures.

Meeting Lu Zhishen and Wu Song[edit]

Lu Zhishen passes by Cross Slope after seeing Lin Chong safely to Cangzhou and stops at the tavern for a rest. He is served with drugged wine by Sun Erniang and becomes unconscious. Zhang Qing returns home and saves Lu Zhishen from his grisly fate. They become sworn brothers.

In a later chapter, Wu Song passes by Cross Slope on his way to exile in Mengzhou and stops at the tavern for a break. The unsuspecting guards are knocked out after drinking the drugged wine. As Wu Song is more alert, he sees through Sun Erniang's designs and pretends to be unconscious as well. Just as Sun Erniang is about to kill him, he awakes, fights with her and easily overpowers her. Around the time, Zhang Qing has just returned home and he 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 flees Mengzhou after killing Jiang Zhong and Inspector Zhang. He reaches the tavern at Cross Slope and receives help from Zhang Qing and Sun Erniang, who disguise him as a travelling monk and recommend him to join the outlaw band on Mount Twin Dragons (二龍山). The couple join them later. They follow the outlaws back to Liangshan Marsh after the battle against imperial forces in Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong).

Campaigns and death[edit]

Sun Erniang becomes one of the scout leaders of Liangshan after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. She and her husband are stationed in the tavern west of Liangshan, and are tasked with making preparations to receive the imperial envoy from Emperor Huizong.

Zhang Qing follows the Liangshan heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by the emperor. She is slain by the enemy officer Du Wei at the battle of Qingxi County (清溪縣; present-day Anxi County, Quanzhou, Fujian) during the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La. She is posthumously awarded the honorific title "Lady of Jingde Commandery" (旌德郡君) by Emperor Huizong in recognition of her contributions during the campaigns.