In my current statcounter addiction, I found that someone reached my site by searching for “Tang Legion of the Heroine”….hmmm….
Followed the link to a fascinating thread about fighting women of China. I’ve known that there were several prominent female warriors and military leaders from ancient times through the Tang dynasty. One post mentions there are female statues among a terracotta army (not THE Terracotta army of the First Emperor), indicating that there were women commonly serving in the Han dynasty armies. (Not to be mistaken with an art exhibit where a modern sculptor purposefully created female terracotta warriors.)
There’s some debate as to whether they were truly soldiers, but they were riding horses and holding weapons so I think it’s a strong case!
Another post mentions the “Legion of the Heroine” formed by a Tang dynasty princess. That one I had encountered in my research, but the post added some more detail.
Western readers may find it hard to believe that my princess heroine wields butterfly swords and is so independent. I think Asian readers won’t even twitch an eye since it’s such a common trope for them. That is supposing, that I have any readers at all. 😉
Well, if you’re interested. It’s a fascinating read:
Aug 01, 2009 @ 20:21:30
I don’t find it too suprising that your heroine would wield butterfly swords. 🙂 Even though many Western readers may picture Chinese women as having bound feet and always being submissive, that’s not always the case. Same thing for women in Japan; women of the warrior class were often taught how to wield weapons, mainly the naginata, as a way of defending their homes when the men were away at war. There were also a few noteworthy women warriors, although I can’t remember their names now…
Anyway, I am still looking forward to your book!
Aug 02, 2009 @ 09:18:25
HA HA. That’s funny. In case you’re interested. 🙂
I did try and join the forum years ago and couldn’t get the registry page to work. I’m glad you posted that again. Thanks! The info was fascinating. Have you ever read “Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom?” It’s set within the Boxer rebellion, but has a female warrior. Also, “The Small Woman” is the tale of a British Missionary caught up in the rebellion. They both give nice detail at the very least.
Aug 03, 2009 @ 10:59:41
I haven’t joined that forum, but they come up when I’m searching for historical info a lot. I always have to try to pull myself away before I get sucked in too deep. History is so fascinating.
Aug 03, 2009 @ 11:43:46
I don’t think that Western women will find it hard to read a book with sword-wielding female Chinese warriors. But I do think that they expect these women to be the exception, not the norm. Think Mulan, and its success (one of my all-time favorite Disney movies, btw). Part of Mulan’s character development was to accept herself for who she was, and break free of what society demanded of her. My guess is that a lot of readers will see your heroine in a similar light (whether that’s your actual intention or not). I think that readers like to feel as though a book is breaking some social norm, placing a modern-thinking heroine into a historical time period. It gives them something to cheer for.
Aug 04, 2009 @ 06:03:42
Yes, it definitely is still atypical to have a woman with a sword. It’s no fun if everyone is kung fu fighting! 😉