Zhang Qing (Gardener)

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Zhang Qing
Water Margin character
First appearance Chapter 17
Nickname "Gardener"
Rank 102nd, Execute Star (地刑星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Scout leader of Liangshan
Origin Tavern owner
Ancestral home / Place of origin Mengzhou, Jiaozuo, Henan
Simplified Chinese 张青
Traditional Chinese 張青
Pinyin Zhāng Qīng
Wade–Giles Chang Ch'ing

Zhang Qing is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 102nd of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 66th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Gardener".


Zhang Qing is from Mengzhou, Jiaozuo, Henan. The novel describes him as a man with a weird-looking appearance and thin facial hair. He used to work as a gardener in a monastery but is forced to go on the run after burning down the monastery and killing the monks in a violent quarrel. He settles down in Cross Slope (十字坡; in present-day Fan County, Puyang, Henan) and robs unsuspecting travellers for a living. One day, he attempts to rob an old man but ends up being defeated by the old man in a fight. The old man recognises his interest in martial arts and decides to accept him as an apprentice. Zhang Qing marries the old man's daughter, Sun Erniang.

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 and 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 from Mengzhou after killing Jiang Zhong and Inspector Zhang. He reaches the tavern at Cross Slope and receive 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]

Zhang Qing becomes one of the scout leaders of Liangshan after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. He and his wife 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. He is killed in the battle of Shezhou (歙州; present-day She County, Huangshan City, Anhui) during the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La.