Sep 03, 2012

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The Sculpture of Yang Generals

The Yang Family is perhaps, the most celebrated family in the history of China. They were loyal to the emperor, to the country with their faith shining as brightly as the sun. They were generals of the Song Dynasty. The Yang family had fought countless number of wars and brought back victory to the entire nation. They were the ones who spread the name of China as a country of superiority to the invaders. They were the ones who shattered the dreams of the northern tribes who never gave up hope on conquering the land of China. They protected the emperor and fought for the people’s lives. They were not only well engaged in combat skills but also in military. The story below is a one that included three generations of the family and their acts of sheer courage and wisdom.

There was a man named Yang Ye, who mastered the skills of combat in his youth and in his twenties, he led the army to numerous victorious fights. He had a wife who was also well-learnt in martial arts. They had nine children, seven sons and two daughters, namely Yuanping, Yanding, Yan-an, Yanhui, Yande, Yanzhao and Yanjiong respectively for the boys and Bajie and Jiumei for the ladies.

Once, Yang Ye was protecting Dai Zhou while his sixth son Yanzhao protected Yanmen Fortress. At that time, the Liao Kingdom shared the boundaries with China in the North. They planned to take the Yanmen Fortress and Dai Zhou first, and with these places as an entrance, their armies could easily enter the border of China and capture the capital. However, they knew that the job was especially tough with Yang Ye and his army present in the places.

Yanmen Fortress was built on the Yanmen Mountain, the place is easy to defend but difficult to attack. For the Liao Kingdom to defeat the Yanmen Fortress, they had to fight against their geological disadvantages. In wars, geological advantages make up a great portion of victory. With the advantage of mountains, Yang Ye commanded five thousand well-trained soldiers to take a path of the mountain and attacked the enemies out of surprise. They won victoriously.

Another time, Song Taizong, the emperor of China wanted to go to Wu Tai Mountain. He had the eldest son of the Yang Family, Yuanping, to escort him. However, the Liao Kingdom was prepared to trap the emperor and take the opportunity to snatch away the territory of China. The emperor was indeed trapped in the Fenyang City. Just in time, the Yang Family came to the rescue. They did not have much for a choice, as the enemies were everywhere. They all were willing to sacrifice their lives for the safety of their emperor. Therefore, in order to successfully bring their king to safety, they had to distract their enemies’ attention. Yuanping dressed himself like the emperor. Together with Yanding, Yanhui, Yande and some other soldiers came out of the northern gate of the city to surrender while the real emperor was escorted out of the city through the Southern gate. The trick did not last long and the enemies soon realize their mistake and started the attack. Out of those who went out of the northern gate of the city, only one survived. Yande fought his way out and somehow realized something. He gave up his mortal life and ascended Wu Tai Mountain to become a monk. The rest who were to distract the attention of the enemies were cruelly killed. The emperor went back safely.

At that time, there was an official in the imperial court, Wang Shen. He was a villain who had his own special tricks to deal with the emperor. Nobody liked him except the emperor. With each passing day, he grew more and more jealous of the fame of the Yang Family. He was a narrow-minded guy who endured nobody in his heart. So happened, the Liao Kingdom was ready again after a few years to strike China. Wang Shen was in favour at that point of time and was appointed the general in charge of the military operation. Yang Ye was under his charge.

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The Yang Generals In Beijing Opera

When they first countered the enemies, the place they met was a populated area. Having a battle at that time mean innocent deaths in the commoners. Besides, the battle will only turn the place into ruins. In consideration of this, Yang Ye hesitated of fighting and decided not to for the benefits of the people. He wanted to resume the battle with the Liao Kingdom only after the people had been evacuated. However, Wang Shen was not so kind. He ordered for a battle. Yang Ye had no choice but to accept the command from his superior.

Yang Ye led his army out of Yanmen Fortress and lured the enemies to Chen Jia Valley. Before all these, Yang Ye had asked Wang Shen to wait with his army camouflaged at Chen Jia Valley. When the enemies arrived, both armies could fight together so as to defeat the Liao Kingdom. Trustworthiness is an essential factor to victory in battles. Wang Shen however, went against his promise and left the battle instead of giving his fullest support to Yang Ye and his soldiers. Yang Ye, his sons and their five thousand soldiers succeeded in bringing the enemies to the destination but no support came to the rescue. Yang Ye’s sons were killed in the battle while Yang Ye himself took his own life.

But there is something else, one son survived. He was Yanzhao. After Song Taizong passed away, Song Zhenzong succeeded the throne. Yanzhao won victorious battles together with his son, Yang Zongbao. They soon spread their fame through out the country and to their enemies. Zongbao at this time grew into a young man while his father grew older gradually and soon stepped into his elderly. This invincible general was finally beaten by the unavoidable strike of age. But before all this, they together defeated the combined armies of the northern tribes. To defeat them, they needed the Xianglong Mu, which could only be found in the Mu Family. The Mu Family had their own armed forces. When Zongbao tried to borrow the Xianglong Mu, he fought with the Mu Family’s lady. The lady could fight well and matched Zongbao in the battle. However, Zongbao and the lady turned from enemies to a loving couple and soon got married. The lady is one of the most well-known female in the history of China. Her name was Mu Guiying. The couple together fought in countless number of battles and won. They defended the northern territory of China and gave their very best to protect the motherland.

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