Xiang Chong (Water Margin)

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Xiang Chong
Water Margin character
First appearance Chapter 59
Nickname "Eight-armed Nezha"
八臂哪吒
Rank 64th, Flying Star (地飛星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Infantry leader of Liangshan
Origin Bandit leader
Ancestral home / Place of origin Pei County, Xuzhou, Jiangsu
Weapon Spear, flying daggers, shield
Names
Simplified Chinese 项充
Traditional Chinese 項充
Pinyin Xiàng Chōng
Wade–Giles Hsiang Ch'ung

Xiang Chong is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels in Chinese literature. He ranks 64th among the 108 Liangshan heroes and 28th among the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Eight-armed Nezha".

Background[edit]

Xiang Chong is from Pei County (in present-day Xuzhou, Jiangsu). He wears a steel helmet and carries a shield engraved with a bear's head when going into battle. His weapons are an iron spear and 24 flying daggers which he uses to hurl at his adversary. Often his dagger finds its target even if the person is as far as a hundred steps away. He is nicknamed "Eight-armed Nezha" after the Chinese deity that is often depicted as having three heads and eight arms.

Xiang Chong is a close friend of Fan Rui and Li Gun. The three bandit chiefs command about 3,000 followers on Mount Mangdang (芒碭山; north of present-day Yongcheng, Shangqiu, Henan).

Joining Liangshan[edit]

The three become foes of the outlaws at Liangshan Marsh after they declared they would trounce Liangshan one day. Liangshan's Shi Jin leads a vanguard force to attack Mount Mangdang, but loses the battle against the forces of Fan Rui, who uses his sorcery craft to overwhelm his enemies. Shi manages to escape only when Liangshan reinforcements arrive.

The following day, Gongsun Sheng deploys the Liangshan troops in the pattern of the Eight Trigrams Formation to counter Fan Rui. Fan Rui uses magic to darken the sky and create a sandstorm to throw the enemy into confusion. He orders Xiang Chong and Li Gun to lead 500 men to break the formation. Gongsun Sheng engages Fan Rui in a battle of magic powers and defeats him. Both Xiang Chong and Li Gun are captured in the formation while Fan Rui escapes ruffled and distraught.

Song Jiang, Liangshan's chief, treats Xiang Chong and Li Gun with respect and persuades them to join Liangshan. They are touched by his sincerity and agree. They return to Mount Mangdang and manage to convince Fan Rui to follow suit.

Campaigns and death[edit]

Xiang Chong becomes one of the leaders of the Liangshan infantry after the 108 stars came together in what is called the Grand Assembly. He follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces on Sung territory after they received amnesty from Emperor Huizong. During the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, Xiang Chong and Li Gun are assigned to attack Muzhou (睦州; in present-day Hangzhou, Zhejiang), where they face the enemy general Zheng Biao in battle. Zheng Biao uses his lasso to trip Xiang Chong, who is killed by Zheng's men after he fell.

References[edit]