Yang Xiang Trying to Throttle the Tiger to Rescue Her Father


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Early in Jin dynasty (晋 265–420), Yang Feng 杨丰 and his teenage daughter, Yang Xiang 杨香, were harvesting the millet crops in the fields when he was attacked by a tiger. Though only fourteen-years-old and without any weapon in her hand, Yang Xiang fearlessly jumped onto the tiger trying to strangle the beast. Her spirit of filial piety was so powerful that even a ferocious wild beast was deterred and ran away. Yang Feng thus survived. The county governor awarded Yang Xiang’s extraordinary good deeds with grains and honouring flags at the gate of their family residence.

This is one of the stories in the Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety (二十四孝 er shi si xiao). Read the research blog here written by Dr Yibin Ni regarding the gender portrait of Yang Xiang in different dynasties in traditional Chinese artworks.

Other story scenes related to the tiger:

Li Cunxiao Slaying a Tiger 李存孝打虎

Wu Song Slaying the Tiger 武松打虎


Fig 1-2: gold gilt silver container with incised decoration (detail), Liao dynasty (916–1125), courtesy of Archaeology Institute of Inner-Mongolia Autonomous Region, China

Fig 3: molded brick, Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), courtesy of the Palace Museum, Beijing

Fig 4: molded brick, Dading period of the Jin dynasty (大定 1161–89), courtesy of the Shanxi Provincial Museum, Taiyuan, China

Fig 5: wall painting from tombs, Jin dynasty (金1115–1234), Tunliu County, Shanxi Province, China

Fig 6: wall painting from tombs, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), Tunliu County, Shanxi Province, China

Fig 7: woodblock printed illustration, Illustrated Biography of Exemplary Women (绘图列女传) by Wang Daokun (1525–93), Ming dynasty

Fig 8-9: porcelain lidded jar with underglaze blue decoration, Kangxi period (1662–1722), courtesy of Dresden Porcelain Collection

Fig 10: trumpet-shaped beaker vase with overglaze enamelled decoration, Yongzheng period (1723–35), formerly in the Robert McPherson Collection

Fig 11: carved wooden door decoration, mid-late Qing dynasty, found in Fujian Province, China, photo by Mr Shen Huilin

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