Zhang Qing – Water Margin

菜园子张青 - 《水浒传》


Zhang Qing is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels in Chinese literature. Nicknamed “Gardener”, he ranks 102nd among the 108 Stars of Destiny and 66th among the 72 Earthly Fiends. Wikipedia
Simplified Chinese: 张青

Zhang Qing, also known as Zhang Shun, is one of the characters in the classic Chinese novel “Water Margin,” written by Shi Nai’an in the 14th century. Zhang Qing is a member of the Liangshan Marsh bandit gang, which consists of 108 outlaws who have come together to form a Robin Hood-like group that steals from the rich and helps the poor. Zhang Qing is one of the many unique and memorable characters in the novel, and his story is both intriguing and tragic.

Zhang Qing’s backstory is not fully revealed in the novel, but we know that he is from a family of wealthy merchants in Jiangnan, a region south of the Yangtze River. Zhang Qing is described as tall and handsome, with a strong sense of justice and a kind heart. However, his parents died when he was young, and he was left in the care of his older brother, who was cruel and abusive. Zhang Qing eventually had enough of his brother’s mistreatment and ran away from home, becoming a monk and joining the Shaolin Temple.

At the Shaolin Temple, Zhang Qing learned martial arts and became a skilled fighter. He was eventually forced to leave the temple, however, after getting into a fight with another monk over a woman. After leaving the temple, Zhang Qing traveled around the country, using his martial arts skills to help people in need. He eventually came across the Liangshan Marsh gang and joined them, becoming one of the group’s most valuable members.

Zhang Qing’s skills as a fighter are highlighted in several episodes in the novel. For example, he defeats a tiger with his bare hands and fights off a group of enemies while standing on top of a tree. Zhang Qing is also a skilled archer, and he is able to shoot an arrow through a willow leaf from a distance of over a hundred paces.

One of the most notable aspects of Zhang Qing’s character is his sense of justice. He is described as being very principled and always striving to do what is right. For example, when the Liangshan Marsh gang decides to become bandits, Zhang Qing is initially hesitant to join, as he does not want to engage in illegal activities. However, he eventually joins the gang after realizing that they are using their stolen wealth to help the poor.

Despite his many positive traits, Zhang Qing’s story is ultimately tragic. In one of the novel’s most memorable scenes, he is captured by the enemy Song army and offered a chance to join their side. Zhang Qing refuses, and is brutally tortured and killed. His death is described in graphic detail, and the scene is a testament to the cruelty and violence of the times in which the novel is set.

In conclusion, Zhang Qing is a fascinating and memorable character in “Water Margin.” His backstory, skills as a fighter, and strong sense of justice make him a compelling figure in the novel. However, his tragic end serves as a reminder of the harsh realities of life in medieval China.

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