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Wu Liuqi (1607-1665), s Jianbo (鑒伯) and Geru (葛如), was a general of the Qing Dynasty. He was a native of Fengshun County, Meizhou, Guangdong, but his ancestral home was in Chaoyang, Shantou, Guangdong.

Wu Liuqi was born during the reign of the Wanli Emperor in the late Ming Dynasty. In his younger days, he was addicted to gambling and squandered away his family fortune. During the chaotic period leading to the collapse of the Ming Dynasty, Wu Liuqi became a beggar in the Wuyue region, and later came to serve the Yongli Emperor of the Southern Ming Dynasty (a state formed by remnants of the fallen Ming Dynasty).

When the forces of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty invaded Chaozhou, Wu Liuqi surrendered to Shang Kexi and was appointed the chief military commander in Chaozhou. He was subsequently promoted to tidu (提督, equivalent to captain-general) of Guangdong.

The scholar Wang Shizhen (王士禛) wrote about Wu Liuqi in Wu Shunke Liuqi Biezhuan (吳順恪六奇別傳), claiming that when Wu was a youth, he met Zha Jizuo, who commented that Wu was "an extraordinary man" (海內奇男子). In 1663, during the early reign of the Kangxi Emperor in the Qing Dynasty, Zha Jizuo was implicated in a case of literary inquisition involving Zhuang Tinglong (莊廷鑨) and was nearly executed. However, Wu Liuqi intervened and defended Zha Jizuo and eventually saved Zha's life. Volume 7 of Wang Shizhen's Xiangzu Biji (香祖筆記) recorded: "(Wu) Liuqi died in office and was granted the posthumous positions of shaoshi (少師; Young Tutor) and taizi taishi (太子太師; Crown Prince's Tutor) and the posthumous name of Shunke (順恪)."

In fiction[]

Da Li Jiangjun (大力將軍; Great Strength General), one of the stories in Liaozhai Zhiyi, mentioned Wu Liuqi, who was referred to as "Wu Liuyi" (吳六一) in the tale. In this story, Zha Jizuo saw Wu Liuqi lift a huge metal bell in a temple with only one arm and took out rice from inside the bell. Zha was astounded by Wu's feat and felt that Wu was an extraordinary person, and he then suggested to Wu to make full use of his ability to do something that would benefit society. Many years later, Wu Liuqi became an official under the Qing Dynasty government and he came back to find Zha Jizuo and thank him.[1]

In the short novel Gusheng (觚賸) by Niu Xiu (鈕琇), Wu Liuqi was grateful to Zha Jizuo after becoming tidu of Guangdong. He sent a huge rock called "Yingshifeng" (英石峰) to Zha to express his gratitude.[2] The rock was later renamed "Zhouyunfeng" (皱云峰) and became one of the "Three Famous Rocks of Jiangnan" (江南三大名石).

Wu Liuqi also appears as a minor character in the novel The Deer and the Cauldron by Louis Cha. In the novel, he is nicknamed "Iron Beggar" (鐵丐) and is a member of the Heaven and Earth Society and the Beggars' Sect.

References[]

  1. (Chinese) Great Strength General, Volume 6, Liaozhai Zhiyi.
  2. (Chinese) Volume 7, Gusheng.

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