2011年7月5日星期二

Lady Tung - Koxinga's wife - Part 1

[Lady Tung's childhood home in 永寧Yong-Nin Township, near 泉州市Chuan-chou City, Hokkien]

Lady Tung, 董夫人 (1628-1687, maiden name 董友), known to her hometown folks as 董酉姑, was born in 永寧 Township of 石獅Stone Lion City, a niece of 董颺先 Chief of 泰州 Prefecture. She married Koxinga in the spring of 1641 and a mere 5 years later Koxinga started his life-long military campaign on behalf of the Ming Court, against the Qing. Lady Tung was to play a central role not only in Koxinga's life but also in the Ming-Cheng Dynasty established in Taiwan by their eldest son 鄭經 (1642-1681).

By all accounts, Lady Tung was a most capable principal wife of Koxinga. In 1646, she accompanied Koxinga to an outpost and in a demonstration of support, she led the whole household in preparing the uniforms, helmets and armors for the troops and donated her personal jewelries and gems towards the soldiers' pay and rewards.

In the 10th Month of 1650, Koxinga was fighting in the south leaving Lady Tung and family behind in Amoy. Koxinga had entrusted the managment of civil affairs to one of his uncles 鄭芝莞. In early 1651, Amoy was attacked by the Qing army, commanded by 馬得功 General Ma. Koxinga's commanders 阮引 and 何德 unfortunately lost the battle and retreated in defeat. In the ensuing chaos, 鄭芝莞 loaded up a battleship with valuables preparing to flee. Lady Tung took with her only the memorial plaque honoring Lady Weng, Koxinga's mother, and went to the beach where she encountered helmsman 林禮Lin Li. Lady Tung identified herself and asked Lin which was Uncle 鄭芝莞's ship. Mr Lin pointed to the heaviest-laden one in reply, then carried Lady Tung on his back to a small boat and rowed to the warship. Uncle 鄭芝莞 was surprised to see her getting on board and advised that it was a warship unfit for ladies and that Lady Tung would be far more comfortable on another ship complete with servants. Lady Tung, knowing that 鄭芝莞 was attempting to escape with the fortune collected in Amoy, refused to budge. 鄭芝莞 was later tried and executed for gross dereliction of duty.

In the First Month of 1657, Lady Tung hosted a gathering of military families and distributed monetary gifts and clothes as well as generous compensations to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. In 1658, in the First Northern War, Lady Tung and non-combatant family members as usual followed Koxinga into battle when disaster struck. In a huge storm, more than 100 ships sank together with 8,000 men. Koxinga had also lost 3 of his sons and 6 personal lady attendants. Lady Tung again took care of the aftermath thereby restoring the troops' fighting spirits. In 1660, Amoy was attacked by Qing again, this time by 達素Da-Su's army with the participation of turncoats Shi-Lang and Huang-Wu. Lady Tung, the quintessential first lady, calmly gathered and led all the officials and their families to the nearby Kinmoy. With this major worry removed, Koxinga was able to commit his full naval force and beat back the Qing invasion. Having lost 1,000 men in this battle, 達素 committed suicide after returning to his headquarters in Foochow.

On the 23rd Day of the Third Month in 1661, Koxinga departed Kinmoy with an armada of 350 ships and 25,000 men. On the 1st Day of the 4th Month they arrived outside of Ft Zeelandia to begin the war for recovering Taiwan.

[Below: The Tung family history recording the marriage of Lady Tung to Koxinga]


4 則留言:

  1. "Koxinga had also lost 3 of his sons and 6 personal lady attendants."

    But this contradicts "For example, even adultery carried a death sentence. This intense dislike of mildly aberrant human behavior was to cause severe consequences."

    I guess it's more like "do as I say, not as I do." It was a different time though; you don't question, think to question or imagine to question your betters.

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  2. Adultery as a punishable offense is universal; however, the matrimonial union between men and women is not. In the Chinese custom, these unions were sanctioned since ancient times that cannot be confused with adultery.

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  3. "In the Chinese custom, these unions were sanctioned since ancient times that cannot be confused with adultery."

    Agreed. Though I bet the topic was still on the annoyed lips of some. BTW, that is a nice picture up top. You take that?

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  4. Actually even now in Taiwan, this type of union still abounds. It is no longer legal (bigamy is a civil offense, I think), but there are ways around it.

    I go the pic from a friend. This type of brick houses can still be seen in Danshui, one located a few doors down from Eddie's Canteen on Chung-shan Road.

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