Lifestyle, Stories

3 Notable Chinese Women in History

The intriguing and varied realm of Chinese history spans more than 5,000 years and includes dynasties, invasions, innovations, and even romance. Chinese women have been unfairly neglected while men have frequently been characterized as fierce warriors, brilliant innovators, and strongman rulers. Let’s celebrate the power of women by talking about three of them who have made history.

Ching Shih

Ching Shih was born in 1775, but nothing is known about her early years other than the fact that she was a prostitute in Guangdong before meeting pirate captain Zheng Yi, who proposed to her.

A Pirate's Life: Ching Shih – The Rum Ration

Ching Shih demanded that Zheng share his whole fleet with her in exchange for his hand in marriage because she was obviously not going to become some trophy bride.

Zheng, a pirate and a privateer, embarked on the Tay Son Rebellion with his new bride (and co-conspirator). Zheng, who was fighting for the Tay Son rulers, didn’t have much success in the insurrection and abandoned it early after suffering many casualties in the fleet.

However, despite this small defeat, Zheng’s Red Flag fleet continued to operate, and when Zheng passed away in 1807, Ching inherited a 1,500-ship pirate fleet.

Ching continued her late husband’s legacy by taking on the fleets of the Chinese, Vietnamese, and even the British and Portuguese.

Ching, who was admired by her crew for her skill as a sailor and ruthlessness, was unique among pirates in that she finally retired (rather than perished on the job) and had a little wealth to her name.

Wang Zhenyi

Despite only surviving until the age of 29, this prodigy was an expert in astronomy, arithmetic, and poetry.

Wang Zhenyi - Astronomer, Mathematician, Poet

Wang, who was born in 1768, was raised in a home of scholars and had her father and grandfather teach her how to read and write.

“The Dispute of the Procession of the Equinoxes” and her ground-breaking “The Explanation of Pythagorean Theorem and Trigonometry” were among the publications she had published by the age of 27. She is renowned for her research on the lunar eclipse as well.

She was a fantastic poet and a superb mathematician and astronomer. She started writing poetry when she was 13 years old, and Yuan Mei, a renowned Qing era scholar, even praised some of them.

It’s a shame that Wang died at the age of 29; she had handed all of her works to her friend Madam Kuai for preservation before she passed away in 1797 from sickness.

Wu Mei

Wu Mei, also known as Ng Mui, the empress’ namesake, lived more than a thousand years after Wu Zeitan. Wu, one of the fabled “Five Elders” of Shaolin martial arts, lived through the Qing Dynasty’s burning of the Shaolin Temple.

Wing Chun creator Buddhist Nun Ng Mui developed the art as a non-lethal  martial art that mirrors six Buddhist Paramitas? - Buddha Weekly: Buddhist  Practices, Mindfulness, Meditation

The exact dates are rather hazy, but the Qing emperor alleged that the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng was engaged in anti-Qing operations. The Qing emperor (again, the reign cannot be confirmed) was prompted by this to order the temple’s demolition.

The so-called Five Elders were the only survivors of this gruesome and murderous attack on the temple and among them was Wu Mei.

These fabled Elders are credited with bringing martial arts to all of China, and Wu, who was arguably the most talented, is credited with creating and perfecting some of the most well-known and significant styles, including the Dragon style, Five-pattern Hung Kuen, Wu Mei Pai, Tibetan White Crane, and the well-known Wing Chun.

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