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苗圃 as 穆桂英 in 穆桂英挂帅
Mu Guiying: Better than you in every way. Every way.
I’ve already mentioned before that the Song Dynasty can’t…exactly be called a unified dynasty, because it coexisted with the neighbouring dynasties of the Liao, Xixia, Jin, and Dali. Well, it was also engaged in battle with the Liao Dynasty for quite a while.
One of the heroes to come out of these conflicts was Mu Guiying, along with the entirety of the Yang clan (which she married into, but I’ll talk about them later I care more about Mu Guiying because holy fuck badass woman incoming like a tow truck*). (Most of the stories are folktales, though, and deviate from historical records.)
Her father Mu Ke was a Song Dynasty official who’d be exiled from court and made his home at 穆柯寨, which is known for its enmity with the imperial court. She studied martial arts and battle strategy, and was a brilliant tactician and warrior.
She is also, incidentally, from Hunyuan, Datong, Shanxi, my ancestral home. Represent!
When the Liao employed Lu Zhong for his 天门诊, a virtually insurmountable battle formation, to make war on the Song, the Yang family, whose patriarch and all but three of their sons died under that formation, sent for the Mu family for help, as Mu Ke had been a friend of Lu Zhong’s, and he and his daughter were the only two who knew how to break the formation.
Unfortunately, they sent their grandson and only heir, Yang Zongbao.
Which I mean, was a good idea in the long run, but horrid if they wanted to get the secret quickly.
He provoked and argument with Mu Guiying, and she challenged him to a series of duels. If he won, he’d get the secret, and if he lost, he’d have the marry her.
Yeah, he ended up marrying her and returning empty-handed, and a day late, to his father Yang Yanzhao, who, angered, decided to execute him (or pretend to execute him in order to draw Guiying out; God, who the fuck knows). So Mu Guiying stormed in and gave the Xianglongmu, or the Dragon-subduing Wood, which was necessary to break the formation, in exchange for his life.
She then became a general of the Great Song Army and not only broke the Heavenly Gate Formation, she also broke the Liao Army by burning all their food supplies and sending an army to destroy their base at the same time to cut off their supply lines. She sent another army to recapture the base, Youzhou, which had been lost to the Liao in a previous conflict. And, legend has it, the Liao were so subdued they never tried to conquer the Song again.
After her grandmother-in-law She Saihua, she’s the second woman to hold the seal of the Supreme Commander, and legend has it that she fought while pregnant and gave birth to her son on the battlefield.
And all this at nineteen.
After her husband’s death in battle against the invading Western Xia army and the death of her father-in-law Yang Yanzhao, the twelve Yang women, Guiying included, were part of the campaign against them. She’s said to have been very feminine, and to have been Commanding General of the Song Army into her eighties.
Her weapon, I believe, is the guandao.
And I love her.
I love her so much.
She’s as famous than Hua Mulan, which the West may be surprised to hear because as I understand it they think Mulan’s the only woman ever to have fucked the patriarchy up in China ever. The only woman. In five thousand years. Ever. Because we all know Chinese women are delicate, submissive, traditional, backwards, housewife-y creatures. With the sole exception of Hua Mulan. Yup.
*Well, okay let’s be honest all the women both born into and married into the Yang family are so badass they make me vaguely sick and eager to emulate them at every turn. THEY. ARE. SO. COOL. Most TV series focus mostly on the second generation of Yang men, but their widows are so much cooler. THEY ARE THE 杨门女将 AND THEY ARE SO MOTHERFUCKING BADASS THEY WILL BLOW YOUR TUPEE AWAY