When there is disharmony in the nation, it cannot launch an army. When there is disharmony in an army, it cannot set forth a battlefront. When there is disharmony in a battlefront, it cannot proceed into combat. When there is disharmony in combat, victory cannot be assured.
Wu Qi’s Art of War
China’s history is replete with remarkable generals, some of whom were women. Qin Liangyu (1574 – 1648) lived during the latter period of the Ming Dynasty. Brave, clever, an excellent horsewoman and archer, she was well-known for her poetry and graciousness. A native of Zhongzhou, Sichuan Province, she was trained, along with her brothers, in martial arts and military tactics. She married Ma Qiancheng, a local district commander when she was 20. Together, they raised a small army of youths, known as the While Pole Army, to protect the countryside. Their signature weapon was a pole of white basswood. Each pole had a hook at one end and a loop at the other which enabled the soldiers to assist each other when moving through difficult terrain in mountainous Sichuan.
Qin Liangyu accompanied her husband during minor battles against local warlords. He relied on her judgment and advice. After the capture and death her husband, Qin Liangyu assumed leadership and fought the Nvzhen ethnic minority (who would later establish the Qing Dynasty) threatening their borders. The Emperor Chongzhen, in the third year of his reign, called upon her to protect Beijing. She was victorious in battle and was rewarded by a grateful sovereign. The Emperor penned four poems in honour of her triumph.
Qin Liangyu is recognized as one of the highest ranking female generals in Chinese history. For her many acts of bravery, she was given the title Grand Protector of the Crowned Prince.
Map Position: # 18 – Broadway & Oak
Artists: Dean Lauzé