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Yuenü (Chinese: 越女; pinyin: Yuènǚ; Wade–Giles: Yüeh-nü; literally: "the Lady of Yue") was a swordswoman from the state of Yue, in the modern Chinese province of Zhejiang. She is also known as Aliao and Maiden of the Southern Forest.

In Chinese mythology, she is a reincarnation of Jiutian Xuannü.

Life and legacy[edit]

Yuenü lived during the reign of Goujian of Yue (496-465 BCE). From a young age, she learned archery and how to use a sword by hunting with her father. The King of Yue planned to attack the state of Wu and when he heard about her skills, he invited her to court. She compared the art of the sword to a door, which can be divided in yin and yang. While strengthening the spirit, one should remain outwardly calm.[1]

Her exposition on the art of the sword impressed the king, who decreed that her skills be in training his army and gave her the title 'the Yue Woman' (越女) or Lady of Yue. The king appointed her to train his army officers, who in turn, instructed his army.

Hers is the earliest known exposition on the art of the sword, and influenced Chinese martial arts for generations.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lee, Lily Xiao Hong; Stefanowska, A.D., eds. (2007). Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: Antiquity Through Sui, 1600 B.C.E.-618 C.E. M.E. Sharpe. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-7656-1750-7.