Yan Shun

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Yan Shun
Water Margin character
First appearance Chapter 32
Nickname "Multicoloured Tiger"
Rank 50th, Strong Star (地強星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Tiger Cub Scouting General of Liangshan
Origin Bandit leader
Ancestral home / Place of origin Laizhou (around present-day Yantai, Shandong)
Weapon Saber
Simplified Chinese 燕顺
Traditional Chinese 燕順
Pinyin Yàn Shùn
Wade–Giles Yen Shun

Yan Shun is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 50th of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 14th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Multicoloured Tiger".


The novel describes Yan Shun as a man with red hair, a yellow beard, round eyes, long arms and a wide waist. Nicknamed "Multicoloured Tiger", he excels in martial arts and the use of the saber. He is from Laizhou (萊州; around present-day Yantai, Shandong).

Joining Liangshan[edit]

Yan Shun was initially a trader but decided to become a bandit instead after making losses in trading. He leads a group of bandits based on Mount Qingfeng (清風山; in present-day Qingzhou, Weifang, Shandong), alongside Wang Ying and Zheng Tianshou. When Song Jiang is on his way to Qingfeng Fort (清風寨; near Mount Qingfeng) to take shelter under his friend Hua Rong, he passes by the bandit stronghold along the way and is ambushed and captured by the bandits, who intend to use his heart and liver to make soup. Just as he is about to be killed, Song Jiang sighs, "Am I, Song Jiang, destined to die just like that?" The three bandit chiefs overhear him and are stunned when they hear his name, because they have heard of Song Jiang's reputation as a generous and chivalrous hero who helps those in need, and have been wanting to meet him. After Song Jiang confirms his identity, the three bandit chiefs immediately releases him, apologise to him, and treat him like an honoured guest. In the meantime, Wang Ying has just kidnapped a woman and wants to rape her. After she reveals herself to be the wife of Liu Gao, the official in charge of Qingfeng Fort, Song Jiang sympathises with her and manages to persuade Wang Ying to let her go.

Song Jiang leaves the stronghold and makes his way to the fort to join Hua Rong. While touring the fort later, he is recognised by Liu Gao's wife, who repays his kindness with evil by accusing him of attempting to rape her. Liu Gao believes his wife and has Song Jiang arrested and imprisoned. Hua Rong intervenes and attempts to free Song Jiang by force, but is lured into a trap by Huang Xin and ends up being captured too. Liu Gao then orders Huang Xin and his soldiers to escort Song Jiang and Hua Rong as prisoners back to Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong) for the higher-ranked officials to decide their fates. Along the way, Yan Shun, Wang Ying and Zheng Tianshou lead their bandit followers to ambush the convoy and rescue Song Jiang and Hua Rong. The bandits eventually defeat the government forces and capture Qingfeng Fort, after which they travel to Liangshan Marsh together to join the outlaw band there.

Campaigns and death[edit]

Yan Shun becomes one of the leaders of the Liangshan cavalry after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. He follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong. During the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, Yan Shun is assigned to attack Black Dragon Ridge (烏龍嶺; northeast of present-day Meicheng Town, Jiande, Hangzhou, Zhejiang), where he sees Ma Lin die at the hands of Fang La's general Shi Bao. Eager to avenge his fallen comrade, Yan Shun fights with Shi Bao but is no match for the latter and dies after Shi strikes him with his spiked mace.