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Archivo:Yue fei-brightened.jpg

Statue of Yue Fei, from the Yue Fei Mausoleum in Hangzhou. The four characters on his banner say, Huan wo he shan , or "Give back my rivers and mountains".

Names (details)
Known in English as: Yue Fei, Yueh Fei, Yo Fei, Yao Fei, Ngok Fei, Nawk Fai
Traditional Chinese: 岳飛
Simplified Chinese: 岳飞
Hanyu Pinyin: Yuè Fēi
Wade-Giles: Yüeh Fei
Cantonese: Ngok6 Fei1
Courtesy name: Pengju
Traditional Chinese: 鵬舉
Simplified Chinese: 鹏举
Hanyu Pinyin: Péngjǔ
Wade-Giles: P'eng Chü
Cantonese: Paang4 Geui2
Posthumous name(s): Wumu , Zhongwu
Chinese: 武穆 , 忠武
Hanyu Pinyin: Wǔmù , Zhōngwǔ
Wade-Giles: Wumu , Jungwu
Cantonese: Mou5 Muk6 , Jung1 Mou5

Yue Fei (Plantilla:Zh-tsp; March 24, 1103 - January 27, 1142) was a famous Chinese patriot and military general who fought for the Southern Song Dynasty against the Jurchen armies of the Jin Dynasty.[1] Since his political execution, Yue Fei has evolved into the standard model of loyalty in Chinese culture.

Yue Fei’s biographies[]

Yue Fei Biography[]

It was written 60 years after Yue's death by his grandson, the poet and historian Yue Ke (岳柯) (1183-post 1240).[2] It was later compiled with other such biographies in 1345 as part of the Sòng Shǐ (宋史 - "History of the Song Dynasty"), a massive 496 volume record of various historical events and biographies of noted Song Dynasty personage, by Yuan Dynasty Prime-Minister Toktoghan (脫脫) (1314-1355).[3] It is located in the 365th volume in this collection and is numbered biography 124.[4]

Although it is part of a historic text, this biography includes supernatural elements. For instance, it mentions how Yue's father, Yue Huo (岳和), named him Fei (飞 - "fly") because a magical Peng alighted on the roof of their family home. It also states Yue Fei "possessed supernatural power" and could "draw a bow of 300 catties".[4]

The Story of Yue Fei[]

Archivo:General Yue Fei Novel.jpg

Front cover of General Yue Fei."

Yue Fei's second biography, a wuxia fiction named Shuo Yue Quan Zhuan (說岳全傳 - "The Story of Yue Fei", literally "Telling the Complete Biography of Yue Fei"), was written by Qian Cai (钱彩), who lived sometime during the reigns of Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Yongzheng (1661-1735).[5] A dating symbol in its preface points either to the year 1684 or to 1744.[6] It was banned in the reign of Emperor Qianlong. There are two main versions of this novel in existence. The original had eighty chapters. There was an illustrated edition of this version published in 1912.[7] The other also had eighty chapters and was published during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi (1861-1875). Starting in 1964 and finally finishing in 1995, Honorable Sir T.L. Yang (楊鐵樑爵士) (1934-present), former Chief Justice of Hong Kong from 1988 to 1995, current Chairman of the Hong Kong Red Cross, combined the first chapters of these works (in an attempt to weed out the overabundance of supernatural elements) to create a seventy-nine chapter version with 961 pages, which he translated into English. It is currently sold under the name General Yue Fei (ISBN 978-962-04-1279-0).

Some people mistakenly take this novel to be historical fact when it is purely fiction.[8] In the introduction of his translation, Honorable Sir T.L. Yang states:

"The work is a historical novel in form, but it is in fact based almost mainly on legends which were current amongst the common people for centuries. Indeed some of the events described there are nothing more than Qian Cai's own imagination."[5]

Biography of Song Yue, Prince of E[]

The Song Yue E Wang Nianpu (宋岳鄂王年譜 – "Biography of Song Yue, Prince of E [Wuchang, Hubei]") was written by Qian Ru Wen (钱汝雯) in 1924.[7]

Birth and early life[]

Several sources state Yue was born into a poor tenant farmer's family in Tanyin County, Anyang Prefecture, Henan province.[4][5][9][10] According to The Story of Yue Fei, the Chinese immortal Chen Tuan, disguised as a wandering priest, warned the future-general's father, Yue Huo (岳和), to put his wife and child inside of a certain clay jar if baby Yue began to cry. A few days later, a young child squeezed Yue's hand too hard and he began to cry. Soon, it began to rain and the Yellow River flooded, wiping out Yue's village. His father held onto the clay jar as it was swept down the river, but eventually drowned. This well-known story is actually fiction. Although the much older Yue Fei Biography mentions the flood, it states Yue Huo survived the flood. It reads, "侗死,溯望設祭于其冢。父義之,曰:“汝為時用,其徇國死義乎。"

"After [the death of his teacher Zhou Tong], [Yue Fei] would offer sacrifices at his tomb. His father praised him for his faithfulness and asked him, 'When you are employed to cope with the affairs of the time, will you then not have to sacrifice yourself for the empire and die for your duty?'"[4][11]

It must be taken into account that the Yue Fei Biography was written roughly five-hundred years before The Story of Yue Fei. Yue Fei's father used his family's plot of land for humanitarian efforts, but after it was destroyed in the flood, young Yue Fei was forced to help his father toil in the fields to survive. Yue received most of his primary education from his father. In 1122 Yue joined the army, but had to return home later that year after the death of his father.[11] In ancient China, a person was required by law to temporarily resign from their job so they could observe the customary period of mourning.[12] For instance, Yue would have had to mourn his father’s passing for three years, but in all actuality only twenty-seven months. During this time, he would wear varying degrees of coarse mourning robes, caps, and slippers, while abstaining from silken garments.[13] When his mother died in 1136, he retired from a decisive battle against the Jin for the mourning period, but he was forced to cut the bereavement short because his generals begged him to come back.[11]


Zhou Tong teaching Yue Fei archery.

The Story of Yue Fei gives a very detailed fictional account of Yue’s early life. The novel states after being swept from Henan to Hubei, Yue and his mother are saved by the country squire Wang Ming (王明) and are permitted to stay in the Wang manor as live-in-help. Young Yue Fei later becomes the adopted son and student of the Wang family’s teacher, Zhou Tong, a famous master of military skills. (Zhou Tong is not to be confused with the similarly named "Little King" of the Water Margin.) Zhou teaches Yue and his three sworn brothers--Wang Gui (王贵), Tang Huai (湯懷) and Zhang Xian (張顯)--literary lessons on odd days and military lessons, involving archery and the eighteen weapons of war, on even days.

After years of practice, Zhou Tong enters his students into the Tanyin County military exam, in which Yue Fei wins first place by shooting a succession of nine arrows through the bullseye of a target two-hundred and forty paces away. After this display of archery, Yue is asked to marry the daughter of Li Chun (李春), an old friend of Zhou's and the county magistrate who presided over the military exams. However, Zhou soon dies of an illness and Yue lives by his grave through the winter until the second month of the new year when his sworn-brothers come and tear it down, forcing him to return home and take care of his mother.

Yue eventually marries and later participates in the Imperial military exams in the Song capital of Kaifeng. There, he defeats all competitors and even turns down an offer from Cai Gui (蔡桂), the Prince of Liang, to be richly rewarded if he forfeits his chance for the military degree. This angers the prince and both agree to fight a private duel in which Yue kills the prince and is forced to flee the city for fear of being executed. Shortly thereafter, he joins the Song army to fight the invading Jurchen armies of the Jin Empire.[5]

The Yue Fei Biography states “飞生时,有大禽若鹄,飞鸣室上,因以为名。未弥月,河决内黄,水暴至,母姚抱飞坐瓮中,冲涛及岸得免,人异之。-- 家貧力學,尤好【左氏春秋】、孫吳兵法。”[4]

"When [Yue] was born, a Peng flew into the room, so his father named the child Fei [(飞 - "fly")]. Before [Yue] was even a month old, the Yellow River flooded, so his mother got inside of the center of a clay jar and held on to baby Yue. The violent waves pushed the jar down river, where they landed ashore … Despite his family's poverty, [Yue Fei] was studious, and particularly favored the Zuo Zhuan edition of the Spring and Autumn Annals and the strategies of Sun Tzu and Wu Qi."

According to one book by martial arts master Liang Shou Yu, "[A] Dapeng is a great big bird that lived in ancient china. Legend has it, that Dapeng was the guardian that stayed above the head of the first Buddha, Sakymuni. Dapeng could get rid of all evil in any area. Even the Monkey King was no match for it. During the Song Dynasty the government was corrupt and foreigners were constantly invading China. Sakyamuni sent Dapeng down to earth to protect China. Dapeng descended to earth and was born as Yue Fei." [14]

Martial training[]


Illustration of Zhou Tong, Yue Fei's teacher

The Yue Fei Biography says, "Yue Fei possessed supernatural power and before his adulthood, he was able to draw a bow of 300 catties and a Cross-bow of 8 stone. [Yue Fei] learned archery from Zhou Tong. He learned everything and could fire with his left and right hands."[15][4] The Story of Yue Fei states Zhou teaches Yue and his sworn-brothers archery and all of the eighteen weapons of war. This fictional novel also says Yue was Zhou's third student after the Water Margin bandits Lin Chong and Lu Junyi. The Biography of Song Yue, Prince of E [Wuchang, Hubei]") says he studied the bow and military tactics under the military leader Zhou Tong and the spear under the spear master Chen Guang (陈广). Before he was an adult, Yue could draw a bow of 300 catties and a crossbow of 8 stones and could fire a bow with either his left or right hand. [7][16][14] The E Wang Shi records, "When Yue Fei reached adulthood, his maternal grandfather, Yao Daweng [(姚大翁)], hired a spear expert, Chen Guang, to teach Yue Fei spear fighting."[17][18]

Both the Yue Fei Biography and E Wang Shi mention Yue learning from Zhou and Chen at or before his adulthood. The chinese word representing "adulthood" in these sources is Jí Guàn (及冠 - "Conferring Cap"), an ancient Chinese term that means "twenty years old" where a young man was able to wear a formal cap as a social status of adulthood.[19][20] So he gained all of his martial arts knowledge by the time he joined the army at the age of nineteen.[4][16]

These chronicles do not mention Yue's masters teaching him martial arts style; just archery, spearplay and military tactics. But non-historical or scholarly sources state, in addition to those already mentioned, Zhou Tong taught Yue other skills such as hand-to-hand combat and horseback riding. Yet again, these do not mention any specific martial arts style. One legend says Zhou took young Yue to an unspecified place to meet a Buddhist hermit who taught him the Emei Dapeng Qigong (峨嵋大鵬氣功) style. This is supposedly the source of his legendary strength and martial arts abilities.[9][14] According to thirteenth generation lineage Tai He ("Great Harmony") Wudangquan Master Fan Keping (范克平), a collector of rare Kung fu manuals, Yue’s teacher Zhou was a master of various "hard qigong" exercises.[21][22][23][24]


Yue Fei's mother writes jìn zhōng bào gúo on his back, as depicted in a "Suzhou style" beam decoration at the Summer Palace, Beijing.

Famous tattoo[]

According to legend, Yue's mother tattooed jìn zhōng bào guó (Plantilla:Zh-stp - "serve the country with the utmost loyalty") across his back before he left home to join the army in 1122. The Biography of Yue Fei says after the traitor Qin Hui sent agents to arrest Yue Fei and his son, Yue Fei was taken before the court and charged with treason. But “飞裂裳以背示铸,有“尽忠报国”四大字,深入肤理。既而阅实无左验,铸明其无辜。”[4]

"Yue ripped his jacket to reveal the four brush-stroke characters of "serve the country with the utmost loyalty" on his back. This proved he was clearly innocent of the charges."

In chapter twenty-one of The Story of Yue Fei entitled "By a pretext Wang Zuo swore brotherhood, By tattoos Lady Yue instructed her son", Yue denounced the pirate chief Yang Yao (杨幺) and passed on a chance to become a general in his army. Lady Yao then tells Yue, "I, your mother, saw that you did not accept recruitment of the rebellious thief, and that you willingly endure poverty and are not tempted by wealth and status … But I fear that after my death, there may be some unworthy creature who will enticed you … For these reason … I want to tattoo on your back the four characters ‘Utmost’, ‘Loyalty’, ‘Serve’ and ‘Nation’ ... The Lady picked up the brush and wrote out on his spine the four characters for 'serving the nation with the utmost loyalty' ... [So] she bit her teeth, and started pricking. Having finished, she painted the characters with ink mixed with vinegar so that the colour would never fade."[5]

According to The Kaifeng Stone Inscriptions, the Kaifeng Jews, one of many pockets of Chinese Jews who settled in China before the time of Jesus Christ,[25] refer to this tattoo in two of their stele monuments created in 1489, 1512, and 1638. This first mention appeared in a section of the 1489 stele talking about the Jews' "Boundless loyalty to the country and Prince". (Please note the original author translated Yue Fei’s tattoo as "Boundless loyalty to the country".) The second appeared in a section of the 1512 stele talking about how Jewish soldiers and officers in the Chinese armies were "Boundlessly loyal to the country". This book also claims that "Israelites" (Chinese Jews) served as soldiers in the armies of Yue Fei.[25]

Adult life[]


Archivo:Four Generals of Song.jpg

The "Four Generals of Zhongxing" painted by Liu Songnian during the Southern Song Dynasty. Yue Fei is the second person from the left.

Southern Song Dynasty artist Liu Songnian (劉松年) (1174-1224), who was best known for his very realistic works, painted a picture called the "Four Generals of Zhongxing" (中兴四将).[26] The group portrait shows eight people--four generals and four attendants. Starting from the left: attendant, Yue Fei, attendant, Zhang Jun (張浚), Han Shizhong (韓世忠), attendant, Liu Guangshi (劉光世), and attendant.[27]

According to history professor He Zongli of Zhejiang University, the painting shows Yue was more of a scholarly-looking general with a shorter stature and chubbier build than the statue of him currently displayed in his tomb in Hangzhou, which portrays him as being tall and skinny. Shen Lixin, an official with the Yue Fei Temple Administration, holds the portrait of Yue Fei from the "Four Generals of Zhongxing" to be the most accurate likeness of the general in existence.[28]


In his "From Myth to Myth: The Case of Yüeh Fei’s Biography", noted Sinologist Hellmut Wilhelm[29] concluded that Yue Fei purposely patterned his life after famous Chinese heroes from dynasties past and that this ultimately led to his martyrdom.[11] Apart from studying literature under his father Yue Huo (岳和), Yue loved to read military classics. He favored the Zuo Zhuan edition of the Spring and Autumn Annals and the strategies of Sun Tzu and Wu Qi. Although his literacy afforded him the chance to become a scholar, which was a position held in much higher regard than the common soldiery during the Song, Yue chose the military path because there had never been any tradition of civil service in his family. Therefore he had no reason to study the Confucian classics in order to surpass the accomplishments of his ancestors or to raise his family’s social status to the next level. His fourth-generation ancestor, Yue Huan (岳涣), had served as a Ling Shi (令使) (essentially a low-level functionary),[30] but he was never a full-fledged member of the civil service rank.[31] A second theory is that he joined the military in the hopes of emulating his favorite heroes.[11]

Scholars were always welcome in the Yue camp. He allowed them to come and tell the stories and deeds of past heroes to bolster the resolve of his men. This way he was able to teach them about the warriors that he had constructed his own life after. He also hoped that one of these scholars would record his own deeds so he would become a peer amongst his idols. He is recorded in saying that he wished to be considered the equal of General Guan Yu and other such famous men from the three kingdoms period. Yue succeeded in this endeavor since later "official mythology" placed him on the same level as his Guan Yu.[11]

Yue was careful to conduct himself as the ideal Confucian gentleman at all times for fear that any misconduct would be recorded and criticized by people of later dynasties. However he had his faults. He had a problem with alcohol during the early part of his military career. Yue drank in great excess because he believed it fitted the image of heroes of old. But once he nearly killed a colleague in a drunken rage, the Emperor made him promise not to drink any more alcohol until the Jin had been driven from China.[11]


According to The Story of Yue Fei, he had five sons and one daughter. Yue Yun (岳雲) (1119-1142), is thought by some non-scholarly sources to have been adopted by Yue at the age of twelve, but he was in fact his biological son;[18] Yue Lei (岳雷), the second, succeeded to his father's post; Yue Ting, (岳霆) was the third; Yue Lin (岳霖), was the fourth; and Yue Zhen (岳震), the fifth, was still young at the time of his father's death. Yue Yinping was Yue's daughter. The fictional novel states she committed suicide after her father's death and became a fairy in heaven. However, history books do not mention her name and therefore she should be considered a fictional character.[18] Yue Fei married the daughter of Magistrate Li the year he was sixteen-years-old (1119).[5] However, the account of his marriage is fictional.[18]

The Yue Fei Biography states Yue left his ailing mother with his first wife while he went to fight the Jin. But she "left him (and his mother) and remarried."[11] He later took a second wife and even discussed "affairs" pertaining to his military career with her. He truly loved her, but his affection for her was second to his desire to rid China of the Jin. Her faithfulness to him and his mother was strengthened by the fear that any infidelity or lacking in her care of Lady Yao would result in reprisal.[11]

He forbid his sons from having concubines, but he almost took one himself. Even though she was sent as a present by a friend, he did not accept her because she did not answer him properly when he asked her if she could "share the hardships of camp life".[11] Her response was a giggle and he therefore knew she would sleep around with other soldiers.[11]

Though not mentioned in the memoir written by Yue Fei's grandson, some scholarly sources claim Yue had a younger brother named Fan (翻). He later served in the army under his brother and died in battle in the year 1132.[18]

Military record[]

According to War, Politics and Society in Early Modern China, 900-1795, "Yue’s career followed the trajectory of Song military fortunes in the first half of the twelfth century. A northern Chinese from a humble background, he participated in the Song’s attempt to capture the Sixteen Prefectures in 1122 and defended Kaifeng after the Jurchen withdrew in 1127. Yue moved south with the other loyalist forces in 1129, and took an active part in during the Jurchen advance back across the Yangtze that year. He continued to advance in rank, and to increase the size of his army as he repeatedly led successful offensives into north China and put down bandits within Song territory. Several other generals were also successful against the Jurchen, and their combined efforts secured the survival of the dynasty. Yue, like most of them, was committed to recapturing north Chin. He saw the strengthening Song army not as a chance to achieve peace with what remained of Song territory but as a chance to defeat the Jurchen outright and recover what was lost.[32]

Stone Lake: The Poetry of Fan Chengda 1126-1193 states, "...Yue Fei 岳飛 ([1103]-1141)...repelled the enemy assaults in 1133 and 1134, until in 1135 the now confident Song army was in a position to recover all of north China from the Jin … [In 1140,] Yue Fei initiated a general counterattack against the Jin, defeating one enemy after another until he bivouacked within range of the Northern Song dynasty’s old capital city , Kaifeng, in preparation for the final assault against the enemy. Yet in the same year Qin [Hui] ordered Yue fei to abandon his campaign, and in 1141 Yue Fei was summoned back to the Southern Song Dynasty capital, where he was murdered at Qin [Hui]’s instigation."[33]

Six methods for wielding an army[]

Yue Ke (岳柯) states his grandfather had six special methods for wielding an army effectively:

Careful selection
He relied more on small numbers of well-trained soldiers than he did large masses of the poorly-trained variety. In this way, one superior soldier counted for as much as one hundred inferior soldiers. One example used to illustrate this was when the armies of Han Ching and Wu Xu were transferred into Yue’s camp. Most of them had never seen battle and were generally too old or unhealthy for sustaining prolonged troop movement and engagement of the enemy. Once Yue had filtered out the weak soldiers and sent them home, he was only left with a meager thousand able-bodied soldiers. However, after some months of intense training, they were ready to perform almost as well as the soldiers who had served under Yue for years.[11]
Careful training
When his troops were not on military campaigns to win back lost Chinese territory in the north, Yue put his men through intense training. Apart from troop movement and weapons drills, this training also involved them leaping over walls and crawling through moats in full battle garb. The intensity of the training was such that the men would not even try to visit their families if they passed by their homes while on movement and even trained on their days off.[11]
Justice in rewards and punishments
He rewarded his men for their merits and punished them for their boasting or lack of training. Yue once gave a private his own personal belt, silver dinner ware, and a promotion for his meritorious deeds in battle. While on the reverse, he once ordered his son Yue Yun to be decapitated for falling off his horse after failing to jump a moat. His son was only saved after Yue’s officers begged his mercy. There were a number of soldiers that were either dismissed or executed because they boasted of their skills or failed to follow orders.[11]
Clear orders
He always delivered his orders in a simple manner that was easy for all of his soldiers to understand. Whoever failed to follow them were severely punished.[11]
Strict discipline
While marching about the countryside, he never let his troops destroy fields or to pillage towns or villages. He made them pay a fair price for goods and made sure crops remained intact. A soldier once stole a hemp rope from a peasant so he could tie a bale of hay with it. When Yue discovered this, he questioned the soldier and had him executed.[11]
Close fellowship with his men
He treated all of his men like equals. He ate the same food as they did and slept out in the open as they did. Even when a temporary shelter was erected for him, he made sure several soldiers could find room to sleep inside before he found a spot of his own. When there was not enough wine to go around, he would dilute it with water so every soldier would have a cup to drink from.[11]


Archivo:Yuefei entry.JPG

Front entrance to Yue Fei's tomb in Hangzhou.

In 1126, several years before Yue Fei became a general, the militant Jurchen of the Jin dynasty invaded the north of the country forcing the Song out of their capital Kaifeng and capturing the emperor of the time Emperor Qinzong who was sent into captivity in Manchuria. This marked the end of the Northern Song, and the beginning of the Southern Song Dynasty under Emperor Gaozong.

Yue Fei fought a long campaign against the invading Jurchen in an effort to retake the north of the country. Just when he was threatening to attack and retake Kaifeng, corrupt officials advised Emperor Gaozong to recall Yue Fei to the capital and sue for peace with the Jurchen. Fearing that a defeat at Kaifeng might cause the Jurchen to release Qinzong, threatening his claim to the throne, the emperor followed their advice. Yue Fei was ordered to return twelve times in the form of twelve gold plaques. Knowing that a success at Kaifeng could lead to internal strife Yue Fei submitted to the orders of his emperor and returned to the capital where he was imprisoned and where Qin Hui would eventually arrange for him to be executed on false charges.[5]

There are conflicting views on how Yue Fei died. According to The History of China: (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations) and other sources, Yue Fei died in prison.[34][9] The Biography of Song Yue, Prince of E says he was killed in prison.[4] The Story of Yue Fei states he was strangled to death. It reads, "...[Yue Fei] strode in long steps to the Pavilion of Winds and Waves ... The Warders on both sides picked up the ropes and strangled the three men [Yue Fei, Yue Yun, and Zhang Xian (張憲), Yue's subordinate] without further ado ... At the time Lord Yue was thirty-nine years of age and the young lord Yue Yun twenty-three. When the three men returned to Heaven, suddenly a fierce wind rose up wildly and all the fires and lights were extinguished. Black mists filled the sky and sand and pebbles were blown about."[5]

The Secrets of Eagle Claw Kung Fu: Ying Jow Pai comments, "Finally, [Ngok Fei] received the 'Twelfth Golden Edict' [from the emperor calling him back to the capital], which if ignored meant banishment. Patriotism demanded that he obey. On his way back to the capital he stopped to rest at a pavilion. Chun Kui anticipated Ngok Fei’s route and sent some men to lie in wait. When Ngok Fei arrived, Chun Kui’s men ambushed and murdered him. Just thirty-nine years old, Ngok Fei like many good men in history, had a swift, brilliant career, then died brutally while still young."[35]

A Chinese Biographical Dictionary states, "[Father and son] had not been two months in confinement when Ch’in Kuei resolved to rid himself of his enemy. He wrote out with his own hand an order for the execution of Yo Fei, which was forthwith carried into effect; whereupon he immediate reported that Yo Fei had died in prison."[10] Meaning he had Yue and his son executed but reported they both died while in captivity.

Other sources say he was poisoned to death.[32][36][37] Still, a great deal simply say he was executed, murdered, or "treacherously assassinated".[38][39][40]

Archivo:Youtiaostory hangzhou statue2.jpg

Statues of Moqi Xie (万俟軼) and Zhang Jun (張俊) in Hangzhou

Kneeling Iron Statues[]

The Story of Yue Fei states after having Yue Fei, Yue Yun, Zhang Xian arrested under false charges, Qin and his wife, Lady Wang (王氏), were sitting by the "eastern window", warming themselves by the fire, when he received a letter from the people calling for the release of the General. Qin was worried because after nearly two months of torture, he could not get Yue Fei to admit to false treason and would eventually have to let him go. However, after a servant girl brought fresh oranges into the room, Lady Wang devised a plan to execute the general. She told Qin to slip an execution notice inside the skin of an orange and send it to the examining judge. This way, the General and his companions would be put to death before the Emperor or Qin himself would have to rescind an open order of execution.[5] This conspiracy became known as the "East-Window Plot".[41] An anonymous novel was written about this called the Dong Chuang Ji ("Tale of the Eastern Window") during the Ming Dynasty.[42]

When asked by General Han Shizhong what crime Yue had committed, Qin Hui replied, "Though it isn't sure whether there is something that he did to betray the dynasty, maybe there is." The phrase "perhaps there is" or "could be true" (Plantilla:Zh-tsp) has entered the Chinese language as an expression to refer to fabricated charges.[43] For their part in Yue Fei's death, iron statues of Qin Hui, Lady Wang, and two of Qin Hui's subordinates, Moqi Xie (万俟軼) and Zhang Jun (張俊), were made to kneel before Yue Fei's tomb (located by Hangzhou's West Lake). For centuries, these statues have been cursed, spat and urinated upon by young and old. But now, in modern times, these statues are protected as historical relics.[44] There is a poem hanging on the gate surrounding the statues. It reads:

"The green hill is fortunate to be the burial ground of a loyal general, the white iron was innocent to be cast into the statues of traitors."[45]

One source states, "In 1162 the Emperor Hsiao Tsung restored his honours, and gave proper burial to his remains. A [tomb] was put up in his memory, and he was designated 忠武 the Loyal Hero. In 1179 he was canonized as 武穆 [Wu Mu]."[10]

According to the novel Xi You Bu, a satire of the Journey to the West, written in 1641 by the scholar Dong Ruoyu (also known as Dong Yue, 1620-1686), the Monkey King enthusiastically serves in hell as the trial prosecutor of Qin Hui. At one point, Monkey asks the spirit of Yue Fei if he would like to drink some of Qin’s blood.[42]


Martial arts[]

See also: Military and civilian combat arts of Zhou Tong

The two styles most associated with Yue are Eagle Claw and Xingyi boxing. One book states Yue created Eagle Claw for his enlisted soldiers and Xingyi for his officers.[46] Legend has it that Yue Fei studied in the Shaolin Temple with a monk named Zhou Tong and learned the "Elephant" style of boxing, a set of hand techniques with great emphasis on Qinna joint-locking.[47][48][49] Other tales say he learned this style elsewhere outside the temple under the same master.[9] Yue Fei eventually expanded Elephant style to create the Yibai Lingba Qinna (一百零八擒拿 - "108 Locking Hand Techniques") of the Ying Sao (Eagle Hands) or Ying Kuen (Eagle Fist).[35] After becoming a general in the imperial army, Yue taught this style to his men and they were very successful in battle against the armies of the Jin Empire.[9] Following his wrongful execution and the disbandment of his armies, Yue's men supposedly traveled all over China spreading the style, which eventually ended right back in Shaolin where it began. Later, a monk named Lai Chin (麗泉) combined this style with Fanziquan, another style attributed to the General, to create the modern day form of Northern Ying Jow Pai boxing.[50][35]

According to legend, Yue combined his knowledge of Internal martial arts and spearplay learned from Zhou Tong (in Shaolin) to create the linear fist attacks of Xingyi boxing.[9][51] One book claims he studied and synthesized Buddhism's Tendon Changing and Marrow Washing qigong systems to create Xingyi.[52] On the contrary, proponents of Wudang Boxing believe it’s possible that Yue learned the style in the Wudang Mountains that border his home province of Henan. The reasons they cite for this conclusion are that he supposedly lived around the same time and place as Zhang Sanfeng, the founder of Taichi; Xingyi’s five fist attacks, which are based on the five chinese elements theory, are similar to Taichi’s "Yin-yang theory"; and both theories are Taoist-based and not Buddhist.[53] The book Henan Orthodox Xingyi Quan, written by Pei Xirong (裴锡荣) and Li Ying’ang (李英昂), states Xingyi Master Dai Longbang "于乾隆十五年为“六合拳”作序云:“岳飞当童子时,受业于周侗师,精通枪法,以枪为拳,立法以教将佐,名曰意拳,神妙莫测,盖从古未有之技也。"[54][55]

"...wrote the ‘Preface to Six Harmonies Boxing’ in the 15th reign year of the Qianlong Emperor [1750]. Inside it says, '...when [Yue Fei] was a child, he received special instructions from Zhou Tong. He became extremely skilled in the spear method. He used the spear to create methods for the fist. He established a method called Yi Quan [意拳]. Mysterious and unfathomable, followers of old did not have these skills. Throughout the Jin, Yuan and Ming Dynasties few had his art. Only Ji Gong had it."

Archivo:Hangzhou0401 202.JPG

Inside the grounds of Yue Fei's tomb and shrine in Hangzhou; the inscriptions at the far end read "Serve the country with loyalty" (尽忠报国).

The Ji Gong mentioned above, better known as Ji Jike (姬際可) or Ji Long Feng (姬隆丰), is said to have trained in the Shaolin temple for ten years as a young man and was matchless with the spear.[51] As the story goes, He later traveled to Xongju Cave on Zhongnen Mountain to receive a boxing manual written by Yue Fei, from which he learned Xingyi. However, some believe Ji actually created the style himself and attributed it to Yue Fei because he was fighting the Manchus, descendants of the Jurchens who the general had struggled against.[56] Ji supposedly created it after watching a battle between an eagle and a bear during the Ming Dynasty.[57] Other sources say he created it while training in the Shaolin temple. He was reading a book and looked up to see two roosters fighting, which inspired him to imitate the fighting styles of animals.[51][58][59] Both versions of the story (eagel/bear and roosters) state he continued to study the actions of animals and eventually increased the cadre of animal forms.[51]

Several other martial arts have been attributed to Yue Fei, including Yuejiaquan (Yue Family Boxing), Fanziquan (Tumbling Boxing), and Chuojiao quan (Feet-Poking Boxing), among others.[60][61][62] The "Fanzi Boxing Ballad" says: "Wu Mu has passed down the Fanzi Quan which has mystery in its straightforward movements." Wu Mu (武穆) was a Posthumous name given to Yue after his death.[10] One Chuojiao legend states Zhou Tong learned the style from its creator, a wandering Taoist named Deng Liang (邓良), and later passed it onto Yue Fei, who is considered to be the progenitor of the style.[60][63]

Besides the martial arts, Yue is also said to have studied Traditional Chinese medicine. He understood the essence of Hua Tuo’s Wu Qin Xi (五禽戲 – "Five Animal Folics") and created his own form of "medical qigong’’ known as the Ba Duan Jin (八段錦 – "Eight Pieces of Brocade"). It is considered a form of Wai Dan (外丹 – "External Elixir") medical qigong.[64] He taught this qigong to his soldiers to help keep their bodies strong and well-prepared for battle.[65][66] One legend states that Zhou Tong took young Yue to meet a Buddhist Hermit who taught him Emei Dapeng Qigong (峨嵋大鵬氣功). His training in Dapeng Qingong was the source of his great strength and martial arts abilities. Modern pracitioners of this style say it was passed down by Yue.[14]

Connection to Praying Mantis boxing[]

According to The Story of Yue Fei, the Water Margin bandits Lin Chong and Lu Junyi were former students of Yue’s teacher Zhou Tong.[67] One martial legend states Zhou learned Chuojiao boxing from its originator Deng Liang (邓良) and then passed it onto Yue Fei, who is sometimes considered the progenitor of the style.[60] Chuojiao is also known as the "Water Margin Outlaw style" and Yuānyāng Tuǐ (鴛鴦腿 - "Mandarin Duck Leg").[68] In the Water Margin's twenty-ninth chapter, entitled "Wu Song, Drunk, Beats Jiang the Gate Guard Giant", it mentions Wu Song, another of Zhou's fictional students, using the "Jade Circle-Steps with Duck and Drake feet".[69] A famous folklore Praying Mantis manuscript, which describes the fictional gathering of eighteen martial arts masters in Shaolin, lists Lin Chong (#13) as a master of "Mandarin ducks kicking technique".[60] This creates a folklore connection between Yue and Mantis boxing.

Lineage Mantis Master Yuen Man Kai openly claims Zhou taught Lin and Lu the "same school" of martial arts that was later combined with the aforementioned seventeen other schools to create Mantis fist.[70] However, he believes Mantis fist was created during the Ming Dynasty, and was therefore influenced by these eighteen schools from the Song. He also says Lu Junyi taught Yan Qing the same martial arts as he learned from Zhou.[71] Master Yuen further comments Zhou later taught Yue the same school and that Yue was the originator of the mantis move "Black Tiger Steeling Heart".[71]


At the age of 30, Yue Fei supposedly wrote his most famous poem, Manjiang Hong (Plantilla:Zh-stp - "Entirely Red River"). This poem reflects the raw hatred he felt towards the Jin empire, as well as the sorrow he felt when his efforts to recoup northern lands lost to the Jin were halted by Southern Song officials of the "Peace Faction". However, several modern historians, including Princeton University Prof. James T.C. Liu, believe certain phrasing in the poem dates its creation to the early 16th century, meaning Yue did not write it.[72]

Modern day[]

Yue has a Cheng Kung-class guided-missile frigate of the Republic of China Navy named after him. It is called ROCS Yueh Fei (FFG-1106).

See also[]


  1. China to Commemorate Ancient Patriot Yue Fei
  2. Newly Recovered Anecdotes from Hong Mai's (1123-1202) Yijian zhi
  3. Wright, Arthur F., and Denis Crispin Twitchett. Confucian Personalities. Stanford studies in the civilizations of eastern Asia. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1962 (ISBN 0804700443)
  4. 4,0 4,1 4,2 4,3 4,4 4,5 4,6 4,7 4,8 History of Song - Biography of Yue Fei (宋史•岳飞传) (ISBN ?) (See also, 岳飞子云 (Chinese only))
  5. 5,0 5,1 5,2 5,3 5,4 5,5 5,6 5,7 5,8 Qian, Cai. General Yue Fei. Trans. Honorable Sir T.L. Yang. Joint Publishing (H.K.) Co., Ltd. (1995) ISBN 978-962-04-1279-0
  6. Jochen Degkwitz, Yue Fei und sein Mythos. Die Entwicklung der Yue-Fei-Saga bis zum, Shuo Yue quan zhuan, Chinathemen 13, edited by Helmut Martin, Volker Klapsch and Martin Krott (Bochum: N Brockmeyer, 1983 (ISBN 3883393215)
  7. 7,0 7,1 7,2 Henning, Stanley E., M.A. Chinese General Yue Fei: Martial Arts Facts, Tales and Mysteries. Journal of Asian Martial Arts. Vol. 15 #4, 2006: 30-35
  8. The Creation of Xingyi - Though it is presented as historical fact, the Yue Fei biography from this page is derived solely from the fictional elements of this wuxia novel.
  9. 9,0 9,1 9,2 9,3 9,4 9,5 Lian, Shou Yu and Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming. Xingyiquan: Theory, Applications, Fighting Tactics and Spirit. Boston: YMAA Publication Center, 2002. (ISBN 978-0-940871-41-0)
  10. 10,0 10,1 10,2 10,3 Giles, Herbert Allen. A Chinese biographical dictionary = Gu jin xing shi zu pu. Kelly & Walsh, 1939 (ISBN ?) (See here also)
  11. 11,00 11,01 11,02 11,03 11,04 11,05 11,06 11,07 11,08 11,09 11,10 11,11 11,12 11,13 11,14 11,15 11,16 Wright, Arthur F., and Denis Crispin Twitchett. Confucian Personalities. Stanford studies in the civilizations of eastern Asia. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1962 (ISBN 0804700443)
  12. Song Ci. The Washing Away of Wrongs. Trans. Brian E. McKnight. Center for Chinese Studies, The University of Michigan, 1981 (ISBN 0-89264-800-7)
  13. Waters, T. Essays on the Chinese Language. Shanghai: Presbyterian Mission Press, 1889 (ISBN ?)
  14. 14,0 14,1 14,2 14,3 Liang, Shou-Yu, Wen-Ching Wu, and Denise Breiter-Wu. Qigong Empowerment: A Guide to Medical, Taoist, Buddhist, Wushu Energy Cultivation. The Way of the Dragon, Limited, 1996 (ISBN 1-8896-5902-9)
  15. "生有神力,未冠,挽弓三百斤,弩八石。學射与周侗,盡其術,能左右射。"
  16. 16,0 16,1 Jin, Yunting.The Xingyi Boxing Manual: Hebei Style's Five Principles and Seven Words. Trans. John Groschwitz. North Atlantic Books; New edition, 2004 (ISBN 1-5564-3473-1)
  17. "岳飞及冠时,外祖父姚大翁聘请当时的枪手陈广教授岳飞枪法。"
  18. 18,0 18,1 18,2 18,3 18,4 Kaplan, Edward Harold. Yueh Fei and the founding of the Southern Sung. Thesis (Ph. D.) -- University of Iowa, 1970. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1970.
  19. 及冠 jíguàn This leads to an English-Chinese dictionary. Type the characters 及冠 in for a definition.
  20. A Study of the Gender and Religious Implications of Nü Guan (See page 18)
  21. Ancient Martial Arts Manuals Appear in Nanjing
  22. Wu Tang Golden Bell (Chinese only)
  23. Wu Tang pail builds up the Dan Tian (Chinese only)
  24. Wu Dang TAI HE Style Boxing Zhou Tong's name has been "Americanized", meaning the surname goes last and the given names goes first (Example: Zhou Tong = Tong Zhou)
  25. 25,0 25,1 Weisz, Tiberiu. The Kaifeng Stone Inscriptions: The Legacy of the Jewish Community in Ancient China. New York: iUniverse, 2006 (ISBN 0-595-37340-2)
  26. Portrait Painting in Five Dynasties and Song Dynasty
  27. Zhang Jun, Han Shizhong, and Liu Guangshi were three of the four generals who stopped the state officials Miao Fu (苗傅) and Liu Zhengyan (劉正彥) from usurping the throne from Song Emperor Gaozong. (See here also)
  28. Yue Fei's facelift sparks debate
  29. Prof. Hellmut Wilhelm's biography and accomplishments
  30. Kaplan: pg. 5
  31. Hammond, Kenneth James. The Human Tradition in Premodern China. Human tradition around the world, no. 4. Wilmington, Del: Scholarly Resources, 2002. (ISBN 0842029591)
  32. 32,0 32,1 Lorge, Peter. War, Politics and Society in Early Modern China, 900-1795. Routledge; 1 edition, 2005 (ISBN 0-4153-1691X-) Error en la cita: Etiqueta <ref> no válida; el nombre «war» está definido varias veces con contenidos diferentes
  33. Fan, Chengda. Stone Lake: The Poetry of Fan Chengda 1126-1193. Trans. J. D. Schmidt and Patrick Hannan. Ed. Denis Twitchett. Cambridge University Press, 1992 (ISBN 0-5214-1782-1)
  34. Wright, David Curtis. The History of China: (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations). Greenwood Press, 2001 (ISBN 0-3133-0940-X)
  35. 35,0 35,1 35,2 Leung, Shum and Jeanne Chin. The Secrets of Eagle Claw Kung Fu: Ying Jow Pai. Tuttle Publishing; 1st edition, 2001 (ISBN 0-8048-3215-3)
  36. Things to do in Hangzhou
  37. The Tomb and Temple of Yue Fei
  38. Markam, Ian S. and Tinu Ruparell. Encountering Religion: An Introduction to the Religions of the World. Blackwell Publishing Professional, 200 (ISBN 0-6312-0674-4)
  39. Olson, James S. An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China. Greenwood Press, 1998 (ISBN 0-3132-8853-4)
  40. Guy, Nancy. Peking Opera and Politics in Taiwan. University of Illinois Press, 2005 (ISBN 0-2520-2973-9)
  41. Tang, Xianzu. The Peony Pavilion: Mudan ting, Second Edition. Trans. Cyril Birch. Indiana University Press; 2nd edition, 2002 (ISBN 0-2532-1527-7)
  42. 42,0 42,1 Trapped behind Walls: Ming Writing on the Wall
  43. Li, Y. H. & Lu, D. S., eds (1982), Chinese Idiom Dictionary. Sichuan Publishing, Chengdou.
  44. Archaeologists to Excavation of Possible Tomb of Qin Hui
  45. Yue Fei's Tomb
  46. Frantzis, Bruce Kumar. The Power of Internal Martial Arts: Combat Secrets of Ba Gua, Tai Chi, and Hsing-I. North Atlantic Books, 1998 (ISBN 1-5564-3253-4)
  47. Leung, Shum and Jeanne Chin. The Secrets of Eagle Claw Kung Fu: Ying Jow Pai. Tuttle Publishing; 1st edition, 2001 (ISBN 0-8048-3215-3)
  48. Eagle Claw Fan Tsi Moon & Lau Fat Mang's History - Part I
  49. Ying Jow Pai History
  50. Leung, Shum. Eagle claw kung-fu: Classical northern chinese fist. Brendan Lai's Supply Co; 2nd ed edition, 1981 (ISBN B000718VX0)
  51. 51,0 51,1 51,2 51,3 Lin, Jianhua. Form and Will Boxing: One of the Big Three Internal Chinese Body Boxing Styles. Oxford University Press, 1994 (ISBN 0-8704-0942-5)
  52. Sun, Lutang. A Study of Taijiquan. North Atlantic Books, 2003 (ISBN 1-5564-3462-6)
  53. James, Andy. The Spiritual Legacy of Shaolin Temple: Buddhism, Daoism, and the Energetic Arts. Wisdom Publications, 2005 (ISBN 0-8617-1352-4)
  54. Pei, Xirong and Li, Yang’an. Henan Orthodox Xingyi Quan. Trans. Joseph Candrall. Pinole: Smiling Tiger Press, 1994. See also, Xing Yi Quan (Mind-Form Boxing) Books Scroll down, 5th book from the top.
  55. Heart Chinese boxing emphasizing flexibility and confusing the opponent (Chinese only)
  56. Lu, Shengli. Combat Techniques of Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua: Principles and Practices of Internal Martial Arts. Trans. Zhang Yun. Blue Snake Books/Frog, Ltd., 2006 (ISBN 1-5839-4145-2)
  57. Wong, Kiew Kit. Art of Shaolin Kung Fu: The Secrets of Kung Fu for Self-Defense Health and Enlightenment. Tuttle Publishing, 2002 (ISBN 0-8048-3439-3)
  58. Ji Xing – Chicken Form
  59. Ji Long Feng
  60. 60,0 60,1 60,2 60,3 Chuo Jiao Fist
  61. Fanzi Quan (Tumbling Chuan)
  62. Yuejia Quan (Yue-family Chuan)
  64. Yang, Jwing-Ming. Qigong Massage, 2nd Edition: Fundamental Techniques for Health and Relaxation. YMAA Publication Center; 2nd edition, 2005 (ISBN 1-5943-9048-7)
  65. Bisio, Tom. A Tooth from the Tiger's Mouth: How to Treat Your Injuries with Powerful Healing Secrets of the Great Chinese Warrior. Fireside, 2004 (ISBN 0-7432-4551-2)
  66. Yang, Jwing-Ming. Qigong Meditation: Embryonic Breathing. YMAA Publication Center, 2003 (ISBN 1-8869-6973-6)
  67. Qian, Cai. General Yue Fei. Trans. Honorable Sir T.L. Yang. Joint Publishing (H.K.) Co., Ltd. (1995) ISBN 978-962-04-1279-0
  68. Chuojiao (thrusted-in feet)
  69. Shi, Nai’an and Luo Guanzhong. Outlaws of the Marsh. Trans. Sidney Shapiro. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1993 (ISBN 7-119-01662-8)
  70. Yuen, Man Kai. Northern Mantis Black Tiger Intersectional Boxing. Wanchai, Hong Kong: Yih Mei Book Co. Ltd., 1991 (ISBN 962-325-195-5), pg. 7
  71. 71,0 71,1 Yuen: pg. 8
  72. James T. C. Liu. "Yueh Fei (1103-41) and China's Heritage of Loyalty." The Journal of Asian Studies. Vol. 31, No. 2 (Feb., 1972), pp. 291-297

External links[]

de:Yue Fei zh-classical:岳飛 ko:악비 nl:Yue Fei ja:岳飛 pt:Yue Fei vi:Nhạc Phi zh:岳飞