Zhang Shun

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Zhang Shun
Water Margin character
Zhang shun.JPG
A statue of Zhang Shun at Yongjin Pond, Hangzhou.
Nickname "White Stripe in the Waves"
Rank 30th, Damage Star (天損星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits
Navy leader of Liangshan
Origin Fisherman
First appearance Chapter 37
Simplified Chinese 张顺
Traditional Chinese 張順
Pinyin Zhāng Shùn
Wade–Giles Chang Shun
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhang.

Zhang Shun is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 30th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "White Stripe in the Waves".


The novel describes Zhang Shun as a man six chi tall, with a fair complexion and a beautiful beard. He is nicknamed "White Stripe in the Waves" because of his powerful swimming and diving skills.

Zhang Shun and his elder brother, Zhang Heng, live in Jieyang Ridge (揭陽嶺; believed to be in present-day Jiujiang, Jiangxi), near the Xunyang River. He used to join his brother in engaging in illegal trading and piracy on the river, but moved to Jiangzhou (江州; east of present-day Chongzuo, Guangxi) later and works as a fisherman there.

Fight with Li Kui[edit]

An 1887 woodblock print by Yoshitoshi, depicting Zhang Shun (top) wrestling with Li Kui in the Xunyang River.

When Song Jiang is exiled to Jiangzhou for murdering Yan Poxi, he befriends the wardens Dai Zong and Li Kui and leads an easy life in prison. Once, during a feast with Dai Zong and Li Kui, Song Jiang has a sudden craving for fish, so Li immediately goes to the riverbank to get fresh fish. Li Kui's hot temper gets him into a fight with the fishermen, who turn to Zhang Shun for help. After losing to Li Kui in a fight on land, Zhang Shun feels dissatisfied and taunts Li to fight him in the water. Li Kui accepts the challenge and loses the fight because he is poor in swimming. Song Jiang and Dai Zong arrive at the scene and stop the fight.

Earlier on, on his way to Jiangzhou, Song Jiang met Zhang Heng, who asked him to help him pass a message to his brother. Song Jiang passes Zhang Heng's message to Zhang Shun and introduces himself and his friends. Zhang Shun is surprised when he learns of Song Jiang's true identity, because he has heard of Song's reputation as a generous and chivalrous hero and wanted to meet him. He has a good laugh with Li Kui over the fight and befriends Li, Song Jiang and Dai Zong.

Joining Liangshan[edit]

Song Jiang runs into trouble in Jiangzhou later after writing a seditious poem while he was drunk. He is arrested and sentenced to death. However, the outlaws from Liangshan Marsh show up in Jiangzhou, storm the execution ground and successfully rescue him. Zhang Shun, Zhang Heng and their friends fetch Song Jiang and the outlaws at the riverbank and ferry them back to the safety of Liangshan, after which they join the outlaw band there.

Recruiting An Daoquan[edit]

During a battle against Liangshan's enemies, Song Jiang suddenly contracts a tumour on his back and becomes seriously ill. Zhang Shun recommends An Daoquan, a famous physician, to cure Song Jiang, because his mother contracted a similar illness before and was healed by An. He makes a long journey to Jiankang Prefecture (建康府; present-day Nanjing, Jiangsu) to find An Daoquan. Along the way, he boards a boat manned by Zhang Wang, who is actually a pirate in disguise as a ferryman. Zhang Wang takes Zhang Shun by surprise, robs him, ties him up and throws him overboard. Zhang Shun manages to free himself underwater and swim away.

Zhang Shun finds An Daoquan in Jiankang Prefecture and tries to convince the physician to join the outlaw band, but is hindered by Li Qiaonu, a prostitute and An's secret lover. One night, Zhang Shun murders Li Qiaonu, and writes "An Daoquan is the killer" in blood on the wall near the crime scene. An Daoquan has no choice but to leave with Zhang Shun and become an outlaw. On the way back to Liangshan, Zhang Shun encounters Zhang Wang and takes his revenge by tying him up and throwing him into the river. At Liangshan, An Daoquan successfully heals Song Jiang. Zhang Shun is given credit for saving Song Jiang's life and recruiting An Daoquan.

Campaigns and death[edit]

When Grand Marshal Gao Qiu leads a fleet of 300 battleships to attack the outlaws, Zhang Shun and the Liangshan navy go underwater and knock holes in the hulls of the ships and sink them. Gao Qiu's entire fleet is destroyed and the outlaws score a decisive victory over the imperial forces in the battle. Zhang Shun and the other naval commanders are given full credit for the victory.

After the Liangshan outlaws are granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong, Zhang Shun follows them on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and other rebel forces. During the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, Zhang Shun is assigned to attack the enemy-controlled city of Hangzhou, which is guarded by Fang La's eldest son, Fang Tianding. He attempts to sneak into Hangzhou by climbing over the Yongjin Gate (湧金門), but is discovered by Fang Tianding, who orders his archers to kill him. After his death, his spirit possesses Zhang Heng and slays Fang Tianding in revenge before leaving his brother's body.

See also[edit]