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The Heroic Warrior Ba Trieu: A figure of Resistance Against Patriarchy and the Enemies of Vietnam

The Heroic Warrior Ba Trieu: A figure of Resistance Against Patriarchy and the Enemies of Vietnam

Warfare is a field that has long been dominated by men. Yet, in the history of war, there are a number of women who have emerged as great warriors or military leaders. One of the lesser known female warriors (outside of her country of origin, at least), is a Vietnamese woman known as Bà Triệu, which means “Lady Triệu”. Bà Triệu is known also as Triệu Ẩu, Triệu Trinh Nương and Triệu Thị Trinh, although remarkably her actual given name is unknown. Some scholars have called Bà Triệu as the ‘Vietnamese Joan of Arc’.

The Political Setting During Bà Triệu’s Time

Bà Triệu is believed that have lived sometime during the first half of the 3rd century AD. During this time, Vietnam’s powerful northern neighbor, China, was going through the Three Kingdoms period (220 – 280 AD), and was divided into three states – Wei, Shu, and Wu. The southernmost of these, the Kingdom of Wu, possessed some territories in northern Vietnam, and occasionally came into conflict with the people of this region. This is the political setting for the story of Bà Triệu, who was one of the figures fighting against the Chinese.

According to a 3rd century AD Chinese source, Chen Shou’s Records of the Three Kingdoms , during the reign of Sun Quan, the emperor of Wu, a rebellion broke out in the northern Vietnamese areas of Jiaozhi and Jiuzhen. As a result, the emperor appointed a general to subdue the rebels. Through the use of military force and diplomacy, the rebellion was eventually suppressed. None of the rebels, however, were named individually in this Chinese source. Therefore, one needs to turn to Vietnamese sources in order to find out about Bà Triệu.

The Bà Triệu temple, Thanh Hóa province, Vietnam.

Legends Describing Bà Triệu

Amongst the Vietnamese sources that wrote about Bà Triệu are the Complete Annals of Đại Việt and the Imperially Ordered Annotated Text Completely Reflecting the History of Viet . Unlike the Chinese source, these two works were not written during the time when Bà Triệu supposedly lived, but much later. The former was written in the 15th century as the official Lê Dynasty history, whilst the latter was written in the 19th century as the official history of the Nuyen Dynasty.

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Additionally, Bà Triệu is an extremely popular figure amongst the people of Vietnam. Traditionally, Bà Triệu is said to have been 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and had breasts that were 3 feet (0.91 meters) long. One account states that Bà Triệu had a voice like a temple bell, was capable of walking 500 leagues (almost 3000 km) in a day, and was extremely beautiful.

As a warrior, she is said to have worn a gold tunic, strapped her breasts over her shoulders, and rode into battle on a war elephant. She is also believed to have led an army of 1000 strong (men and women included), and fought in 30 battles (all presumably against the Chinese).

Đông Hồ folk painting of Bà Triệu riding an elephant. ( CC BY NC SA )

A Fear of the Impure and Bà Triệu’s Supernatural Powers

Another tradition states that one of Bà Triệu’s weaknesses was her fear of anything smelly, impure, or dirty. This was exploited by the Chinese and is said to have been the cause of Bà Triệu’s death. In one story, Bà Triệu was alleged to have been waiting for the Chinese to emerge from their fortress to engage in battle, as she did not have any siege equipment.

When the Chinese commander finally decided to join battle, he ordered his men to surge out of the fort like wild animals – naked, yelling, and kicking up dust. Seeing this, Bà Triệu was immediately disgusted and left the battlefield. When her troops witnessed her leaving, they were struck by panic and also retreated. Bà Triệu was soon surrounded, and the tale says that she chose to commit suicide, rather than allowing herself to be taken alive.

Bà Triệu is also believed to have supernatural powers, as she was not done with the Chinese even after her death. One tradition states that after Bà Triệu’s death, the warrior appeared in the dreams of the Chinese commander, and gave him nightmares. Furthermore, a plague that struck the Chinese troops was blamed on her. To counter and ward off Bà Triệu’s spirit, the Chinese commander ordered his woodcarvers to make hundreds of penis images and hung them over doors.

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A Symbol of Resistance

The Vietnamese people celebrated and venerated Bà Triệu even following her death. Furthermore, when Vietnam was under local rule, Bà Triệu was honored by the court with posthumous titles. Nonetheless, it is possible that the incredible stories of Bà Triệu are embellishments by the common people as they were passed down (perhaps orally) from one generation to the next. It may also be possible to classify Bà Triệu as a folk hero, who may have been based on a historical figure whose existence we might never be able to certify.

Shrine of Bà Triệu at the Bà Triệu temple, Thanh Hóa province, Vietnam. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

Regardless of whether Bà Triệu did exist, was based on an actual person, or was an invention of the people, it is undeniable that she has become a symbol of resistance. She has, most notably perhaps, been molded as a figure of resistance against the Chinese as well as patriarchy. As long as Bà Triệu remains in the hearts and minds of the people, her spirit will continue to be raised by various ideologies to fight for their cause.

Featured image: A painting of Bà Triệu on her elephant. Photo source: (The Vietnam National Forum)

By: Ḏḥwty


What does hua mean in mulan

Legends say that after 10 years on the battlefield Mulan was promoted to general. It had nearly opaque pigmentation that adhered evenly and smoothly across my lips without tugging. While Mulan’s true story may never entirely be uncovered, the impact of her heroic tale reverberates beyond Chinese culture as a worldwide phenomenon. Ten enduring mysteries of the Longyou caves, The tragedy of Queen Ankhesenamun, sister and wife of Tutankhamun, 5 Pyramids of the Ancient World that You May Not Have Heard About. Mulan fought for twelve years and gained high merit, but she refused any reward and retired to her hometown. Traditionally, Mulan’s life is placed in the time of the Northern Wei, however, many details of her story were added during the reign of the Tang dynasty around 620 AD. Their relationship is loving and supportive, with several scenes dedicated to showing their bond. Hua Mulan (Chinese: . ) In the poem the name is simply Mu-lan, but it has also been spelled as Hua Mu-lan in a collection of tzu' poems (Chang 12). China and Japan went to war in 1937. The legend of Mulan and her dedication to family and country are deeply embedded in Chinese folklore. Xu Wei’s version of Hua Mulan’s adventure has been examined by countless scholars for its interpretations of gender and feminism. Mulan Finds Love (But Why It's Not Important) In the animated version, Li Shang is introduced as a means for Mulan to defy the matchmaker's restrictive control of her. Ancient Chinese Earthquake Detector Invented 2,000 Years Ago Really Worked! Hua Mulan was a Chinese warrior woman who lived during the Northern and Southern dynasties, which was between 420 and 589 CE, and her story was told through the "Ballad of Mulan. English words for 华 include china, flower, flowery, splendid, flashy, magnificent, gray, prosperous and flora. Meet Hua Mulan, The Legendary Warrior Behind The Disney Classic. Hua Mulan is a symbol of bravery and honor. ( closetprofessor). I now want to be with my father,” a far cry from the happy Disney ending we got in 1998… That doesn't mean the feelings weren't there, but it does preclude open expression beyond subtle looks and gestures and explains why this connection isn’t made more explicit. What does Mulan mean? Is Mushu in the new Mulan? of "Mulan" is magnolia. Disney’s film Mulan grossed $22.8 million in its opening weekend, and went on to gross £304 million worldwide, making it the second-highest grossing family film of the year. The original source of Mulan’s story came from one folk song in the North Wei Dynasty (386 AD - 557 AD) which was called The Ballad of Mulan . Mulan’s tale has become so embedded in Chinese culture that many confuse the heroine as a historical figure. The legend of Hua Mulan is well known and revered in China. She's a person who believes in equality for all, and always stays true to her beliefs "My Duty is to my heart"). Mulan. When the Huns invade China, one man from every family is called to arms. The character of Mulan has remained a very popular motif in art and literature. Mulan is a fictional character, inspired by a legendary figure, who appears in Walt Disney Pictures' 36th animated feature film Mulan (1998), as well as its sequel Mulan II (2004). Here is the true story of Mulan’s tale. The Ballad of Mulan (木蘭辭, Mùlán cí) is a Chinese poem written in (probably) the fifth or sixth century AD. Feeling lonely and misunderstood, the legend says that she decided to commit suicide. The next appearance of Mulan’s tale came in the late Ming Dynasty . HUA is listed in the World's largest and most authoritative dictionary database of abbreviations and acronyms The Free Dictionary The fleet grew under her command, with expanding reserves of loot, and. A grave in Peru has been shown to contain the world’s oldest female hunter. Thus, she inspired her army to win a battle once more. then these army guys come with a message that the wounded father has to go fight the HUNS. They were overwhelmed by her bravery, grace, and wisdom. As author Amanda Foreman reported for Smithsonian Magazine: “A small foot in China, no different from a tiny waist in Victorian England, represented the height of female refinement. Mulan is often given a last name, "Hua," which means "flower." The historic setting of Hua Mulan is in the Northern Wei (386–536). Has anyone written a version where Mulan fights the Japanese during world war two? Ghost Marriages: Love For the Living and the Deceased, 5-meter long ancient scroll painting is one of the most precious treasures of China, Caterina Sforza: A Renaissance Warrior Woman That Knew How to Get What She Wanted, The Fascinating Life of a Chinese Eunuch in the Forbidden City of China, Archaeologists in China claim to have found two million-year-old stone toys, The Heroic Warrior Ba Trieu: A figure of Resistance Against Patriarchy and the Enemies of Vietnam, Killer Queens: 5 of Ancient History’s Most Outstanding Female Rulers, The Lady of Baza and the Battle to Take Her Home, Ice Age Figurines and the Sanctity of Prehistoric Obesity, Ching Shih – From Prostitute to Infamous Female Pirate, Discovery of 9,000-Year-Old Female Hunter in Peru Is Rewriting History, Pope Joan: The Female Pope Whose Gender was Revealed When She Gave Birth in a Procession. “The Ballad of Mulan” was written in the sixth century about a legendary warrior, Hua Mulan, . so this one has sacrificed some meaning for the sake of poetry. The World's most comprehensive professionally edited abbreviations and acronyms database All trademarks/service marks referenced on this site are properties of their respective owners. From Ming dynasty to Mao, Michael Wood explores China’s six great eras Mulan is always looking out for Hua Xiu and protecting her. It is the origin of the Mulan character, later known as Hua Mulan. Mulan itself means "magnolia". The enduring legend of Hua Mulan has survived thousands of years through countless iterations of poetry, songs, plays, and films. According to the Chinese- English dictionary, the name means "lily magnolia." Fa Mulan from Mulan Hua Mulan from the Chinese poem the Ballad of Mulan However, the fact that Hua Mulan is not included in literature focused on historical female figures, such as the Biography Of Exemplary Women — a compilation of biographies of notable ancient Chinese women — may be another strong indicator that the beloved heroine did not exist in real life. Mulan is a girl, the only child of her honored family. “I mean, back to the realism question – we don’t tend to break into song when we go to war,” said director Niki Caro as she explained the reasoning behind those omissions to Digital Spy. Messiah on Temple Mount: Are We Nearing the End of Time? The historical setting of Ballad of Mulan is usually the Northern Wei's military campaigns against the nomadic Rouran.


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