Lady Mu Guiying: A Woman of Courage and Steadfastness

Lady Mu Guiying went on to play a vital role along with her husband in the continuing battle against rebel invasions. (Image:  Pixabay /  CC0 1.0)
Lady Mu Guiying went on to play a vital role along with her husband in the continuing battle against rebel invasions. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

There is a story about a young Chinese heroine named Mu Guiying. She was a beautiful chieftain, hailing from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). From an early age, Mu Guiying showed potential in the practice of martial arts. Later on, she became well-versed in the sacred texts. Mu Guiying is recognized mainly for her steadfast courage.

A predestined encounter

Mu Guiying stayed with her father, Mu Yu, in the greenwood near Muke Village in what is today’s Shandong Province. Mu Yu was the chief of Muke Fortress, a leading military center.

The story plays out when the Song army was embroiled in a bitter fight against invading armies of the Great Liao, a nomad state from China’s north.

The Liao army had just recruited a certain Song army advisor named Lu Zhong, who knew a special battle formation that was so tight it was believed to be impenetrable. Liao challenged the Song army to defeat them and gave them an ultimatum of a hundred days. Otherwise, they would have to surrender their newly unified motherland to the Liao.

Mu Guiying was a beautiful chieftain, hailing from the Northern Song Dynasty. (Image: SY via Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0)

On the Song side, there was an illustrious family with the name of Yang. The men were all generals of several armies. They were known to be so formidable that the mere mention of the Yang name caused enemies to quake in their boots.

Responding to the 100-day challenge from Liao, the Yangs along with the Song armies fought hard, but their armies failed to break through the enemy’s tight formation. As the deadline drew near, a Yang army advisor recommended Chief Mu Yu from the Muke fortress to the Commander. Mu Yu knew Lu Zhong, and he was also the only person who knew the method that could crack the invincible battle array.

An unusual proposal

A young warrior from the Yang family named Yang Zongbao arrived at the Muke Fortress one day, demanding to learn the special military strategy. Mu Yu was immediately suspicious and refused to teach him. A fiery duel followed and Mu Yu captured Yang Zongbao. He proudly announced to Mu Yu that he would rather die than admit defeat.

Seeing his demeanor and courage, Mu Guiying fell hopelessly in love with him. But at first, he could see her only as of the daughter of the individual who defeated him. However, this didn’t deter Mu Guiying. She took a daring move and proposed to him. Seeing her bold character, Yang Zongbao fell for her and accepted.

Yang Zongbao arrived at Muke fortress one day, demanding to learn the special military strategy. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

His father, Yang Yanzhao, however, was furious and in his rage, ordered his son’s execution. Mu Guiying was so angered by the turn of events that she went to her father-in-law and challenged him to a duel. She defeated him. After apologizing for his actions and recognizing her capabilities, Yang Yanzhao blessed his son’s union to Mu Guiying and received her into the Yang family and his cavalry.

A genius female military strategist

The Yang army, meanwhile, suffered a horrible defeat at the hands of the Liao. Yang Zongbao was then appointed the Army Commander. Sadly, Mu Yu passed away at this time. Mu Guiying was the only person left who was trained in the military stratagem that could save the Song lands.

Mu Guiying was only 19 when she took command of the Yang army. In an act of military genius, she broke through the invincible formation of the Liao cavalry. In a brilliant counter move, Mu Guiying destroyed the Liao formations one by one. With the dignity and composure of a veteran general, Mu Guiying steadfastly led her army with courage and determination. It’s said the Liao army suffered such a blow under her that it never regained its former glory.

Rolling Tears Cliff

Mu Guiying and her troops were killed in a pass known as “Rolling Tears Cliff.” Mu Guiying’s grandmother-in-law was so heartbroken that the mountain rocks rolled down the side of the cliffs like tears. The legendary Mu Guiying is a timeless heroine and her charm and accomplishments continue to capture the admiration of the old and young alike.

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