Qin Qiong knocking down the bronze banner


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Qin Shubao (秦叔宝, or Qin Qiong 秦琼, ?–638,) and Luo Cheng 罗成 were cousins, and they were characters in the Qing Dynasty novel Complete Biography of Explaining the Tang Dynasty 《说唐演义全传》 (Shuo Tang Yanyi Quan Zhuan, author unknown).

Luo Cheng was invited by General Yang Yichen 杨义臣 to guard an extremely difficult formation, Bronze Banner Array, in order to defeat enemies. Within the formation, numerous fatal mechanisms were set up, and there were warriors guarding a huge tall bronze banner. At the top of the flagpole, there was a large square container where twenty-four top archers would be ready to release a barrage of arrows at whoever attempted to come close to the array.

Coincidentally, it was Qin Qiong who was leading the attack for his Lord Western Wei 西魏王. Fortunately, Luo Cheng’s mother had already instructed Luo that if his cousin was engaged in the battle with him, he must seemingly protect the bronze banner while secretly providing support to Qin Qiong, ensuring his cousin would not suffer any loss.

As Qin Qiong charged into the array, Luo Cheng deliberately expressed his curiosity saying that he wanted to see how Qin Qiong could possibly topple the sturdy bronze banner. He also ordered the twenty-four archers not to release their arrows. As a result, Qin Qiong got the chance to dash to the front of the flagpole and killed guarding warriors. He then waved his golden weapon jian 锏 mace, exerted all his strength, and struck the flagpole. Once! Twice! As he knocked for the third time, a deafening sound exploded and the bronze flagpole was miraculously toppled, crushing all the archers.

Luo Cheng then collaborated with Qin Qiong and broke through the Bronze Banner Array successfully. Later, they both fled to Lord Western Wei and Luo Cheng was honoured as General ‘Fierce Tiger’.


story scene description by Rachel Ma


Other narrative scene depicting battlefield:

Zhao Zilong’s solo rescue of Liu Bei’s infant son 赵子龙单骑救主


Fig 1-4: verte imari jar and cover, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Christie’s Auction House, London, 9 May 2017, Lot 101

Fig 5-8: porcelain vase with overglaze enamelled decoration, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, photography by Mr Jason Ooi

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