Zhang Qing (Gardener)

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Zhang Qing
Water Margin character
First appearanceChapter 17
Rank102nd, Execute Star (地刑星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Scout leader of Liangshan
OriginTavern owner
Ancestral home / Place of originMengzhou, Henan
Simplified Chinese张青
Traditional Chinese張青
PinyinZhāng Qīng
Wade–GilesChang Ch'ing

Zhang Qing is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels in Chinese literature. Nicknamed "Gardener", he ranks 102nd among the 108 Stars of Destiny and 66th among the 72 Earthly Fiends.


The novel describes Zhang Qing as a man with an odd appearance and thin facial hair. Originally from Mengzhou, he used to work as a gardener in a monastery. After he killed the monks and burnt down the monastery following a heated quarrel, he fled to Cross Slope (十字坡; at the intersection of present-day Shen County, Shandong and Fan County, Henan) and made a living there by robbing travellers. One day, he attempts to rob an elderly man, who fights back and defeats him; the man recognises his potential and accepts him as his martial arts apprentice. Zhang Qing later marries his master's daughter, Sun Erniang.

Sun Erniang and Zhang Qing operate a tavern at Cross Slope, where they target unwary travellers and serve them food and wine spiked with drugs that will make them unconscious. Once their victims are out cold, the couple rob them, kill them and sometimes use their flesh to make fillings for baozi, which they then serve to other unsuspecting customers. While Zhang Qing spends most of his time farming, Sun Erniang runs the tavern with a few assistants.

Meeting Lu Zhishen[edit]

When Lu Zhishen passes by Cross Slope after seeing Lin Chong safely to Cangzhou, he stops at the tavern for a break and unsuspectingly consumes the drugged wine. Just when Sun Erniang is about to butcher Lu Zhishen, Zhang Qing returns to the tavern, recognises Lu Zhishen and stops his wife. After they revive Lu Zhishen, Zhang Qing becomes sworn brothers with him and recommends him to take shelter at Mount Twin Dragons. Lu Zhishen later takes over the outlaw stronghold there and becomes one of the leaders of the outlaw band.

Encounters with Wu Song[edit]

Later, when Wu Song stops at the tavern at Cross Slope on his way to exile in Mengzhou, he gets into a fight with Sun Erniang after she serves him drugged wine and tries to rob him. Wu Song easily overpowers Sun Erniang and uses a grappling hold on her. Around the same time, Zhang Qing comes back and stops the fight; the couple apologise to Wu Song after learning of his true identity, and treat him like an honoured guest. Zhang Qing also becomes sworn brothers with Wu Song.

Wu Song later gets into trouble in Mengzhou and goes on the run after killing corrupt officials who tried to murder him. Along the way, he encounters Sun Erniang and Zhang Qing again and gain their help, they help him disguise himself as an unshaven Buddhist pilgrim and recommend him to join the outlaw band at Mount Twin Dragons. Sun Erniang and Zhang Qing later also join the outlaw band at Mount Twin Dragons, they follow Song Jiang and the other outlaws back to Liangshan Marsh after the battle of Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong) and join the larger outlaw band there.

Campaigns and death[edit]

Zhang Qing becomes one of the scout leaders of Liangshan after the 108 Stars of Destiny come together in what is called the Grand Assembly, he and his wife are posted at the tavern west of Liangshan. They are tasked with making preparations to receive the imperial envoy after the outlaws secure amnesty from Emperor Huizong.

Zhang Qing follows the Liangshan heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces on Song territory after they received amnesty from the emperor, he is killed in action at the battle of Shezhou during the campaign against Fang La's rebel forces.


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