Biography (SGZ): Lady Wu

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Lady Wu

Sanguozhi Officer Biography
See Translator Note I
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Lady Wu, wife of Caitiff-Smashing Sun [Jian], was the mother of Quan, the lord of Wu. She hailed from Wu commandery originally but was displaced to Qiantang. Having lost her parents at a young age, she lived with her younger brother, Jing. Sun Jian had heard of her beauty and character, and desired to marry her. However, Lady Wu’s relatives disapproved Jian as being an idler and a rascal, and were going to decline him. Jian was embarrassed and angry at that. The Lady said to her relatives, “Why bring disaster upon yourselves for the love of one girl? If this turns out to be a bad match, it would just be my fate.” And so they gave her to Jian in marriage. She bore him four boys and a girl (1).

(1) From Soushen Ji: Previously, the Lady conceived and dreamt that the Moon came into her bosom, and then she gave birth to Ce. As when she was preganant with Quan, she had another dream in which the Sun came into her bosom. She told that to Jian, “When I was pregnant with Ce, I dreamt of the Moon going into me. Now I dream again that the Sun goes into me. Why is that?” Jian said, “The Sun and the Moon are the essences of Yin and Yang, and signs of supreme honor. My descendents will surely flourish!”

[Wu] Jing followed Jian often and gained merit in his campaigns, and was made Colonel of the Cavalry. Yuan Shu memorialized the court to make Jing replacement Grand Administrator of Danyang, and had him attack the previous Grand Administrator, Zhou Xin, resulting in the conquest of the Danyang commandery. Sun Ce, along with Sun He and Lu Fan, went there to Jing for support. Putting their forces together, they attacked the bandit Zu Lang in Jing Prefecture, defeating Lang and causing him to flee. At that time, they were also pressurized by Liu Yao, and so Jing returned to be under the protection of Yuan Shu in the north. Shu made him General of the Interior Who Supervises the Army, and commanded him and Sun Ben to fight Fan Neng and Yu Mi at Hengjiang, as well as attack Zhai Rong and Xie Li at Meling.

During that time, Ce was wounded at Niuzhu, and the bandits who had surrendered rose in mutiny again. Jing fought against them and captured all of them. Jing was in the campaign against Liu Yao, and as Yao fled to Yuzhang, Ce sent Jing and Ben to Shouchun to report to Yuan Shu. Shu was in the middle of fighting Liu Bei over Jingzhou, and so he just made Jing Grand Administrator of Guanling [to deal with the matter]. Later on, when Shu took the imperial title, Ce wrote Shu a letter advising him against it, but Shu did not accept the advice. Instead, he banned traffic over the Yangtze and refused to communicate [with Ce]. Then, he sent someone to notify Jing. Upon that, Jing left his post and returned to the east. Ce reinstated Jing as Grand Administrator of Danyang. The Han Court sent Wang Pu, a Gentleman-Consultant southward with the imperial approval bestowing on him the rank of General Who Manifests Martial Power, and ordered him to rule the commandery as before.

As when Quan inherited the family enterprise in his youth, Lady Wu assisted him to handle military and civil matters, and was tremendously helpful (2). In the 7th year of Jian’an, she held audience with Zhang Zhao and his cohorts on her deathbed, and told them of her last will. She was buried at Gaoling along with Sun Jian (3).

(2) From Kuaiji Dianlu: An officer of the Office of Merit Records, Wei Teng, went against Ce’s wishes and was about to be killed by Ce. All the gentlemen of the court were worried and scared, and no one had ideas of how to save him. And so Lady Wu, leaning against a big well, said to Ce, “You have just built up the land south of the River recently, and the affairs are not yet settled. You should really treat the wise well and the talented with propriety, forgiving their misdeeds and acknowledging their merits. Now Officer Wei has followed the Law in public office, and if you kill him today, tomorrow everyone will rebel against you. I don’t wish to see misfortune coming like this, and so I’ll throw myself in this well first.” Ce was greatly alarmed and released Teng. This is an example of the Lady’s wits and intelligence.
(3) From Zhi Lin: According to the Recommendation Records of Kuaiji, there were no recommendations made in the period between the 12th and the 13th year of Jian’an, and it is noted that “The Lady of the House has deceased”. This means that the Queen of Wu died in the 12th year of Jian’an. There were recommendations made in the 8th and the 9th years, [but not in the 7th], and the distinction is clear.

In the 8th year of Jian’an, Jing died in office, and his son Fen was given troops to command and enfeoffed Marquis of Xinting. When he died (4), his son An was heir, but An died on account of involvement in the faction of [Sun] Ba, Prince of Lu. Then Fen’s younger brother Qi inherited the title Marquis of Xinting (II). When he died, his son Xuan was heir. The wife of Xuan was the daughter of Teng Yin, and when Yin was executed, Xuan was also killed.

(4) From Wu Shu: When Quan went on the campaign of Jingzhou, he made Fen commander of Wu Commandery, to guard the east.
(II) Qi was friends with Zhang Wen and Gu Tan. Quan commanded them to rule on judicial affairs.
(I): Updates of this biography have been discontinued by the translator in favor of an alternate translation found in Robert Joe Cutter and William G. Crowell's Empresses and Consorts, a marvelous hardcover book detailing the role of women during the Three Kingdoms era. It includes the biographies of women included in Chen Shou's Sanguozhi. This translation remains online for archival purposes only.

Copyright © 2002 - 2003
Translated from Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi