Monday, June 08, 2015

Lady Triệu

"I'd like to ride storms, kill sharks in the open sea, drive out the aggressors, reconquer the country, undo the ties of serfdom, and never bend my back to be the concubine of whatever man." --Lady Triệu
She's called Vietnam's Joan of Arc, assembling forces to resist the Chinese state of Eastern Wu in the third century A.D. Lady Triệu cut quite a figure, according to some accounts:
"...a woman from the Cửu Chân commandery named Triệu Ẩu assembled people and attacked several commanderies (Ẩu has breasts 3 thước [1.2 meters] long, tied them behind her back, often rides elephants to fight). Dận was able to subdue [her]. (Giao Chỉ records only write: In the mountains of Cửu Chân commandery there is a woman with the surname Triệu, with breasts 3 thước long, unmarried, assembled people and robbed the commanderies, usually wearing yellow tunics, feet wearing shoes with curved fronts, and fights while sitting on an elephant's head, becoming an immortal after she dies)." --from The Complete Annals of Great Viet, mid 15th century
"Two centuries after the Trung sisters, another young woman, Trieu Thi Trinh, took up the same challenge. Although she, too, failed to dislodge the Chinese, the legends that grew up about her tell us much about both the dreams of Vietnamese women and the fears of the men who fought, followed, or heard of such women in following centuries. According to a late eighteenth-century account, for example, Trieu Thi Trinh was nine feet tall, had three-foot-long breasts and a voice like a temple bell, and was able to eat several pecks of rice and walk five hundred leagues in a single day. Yet she was also said to possess a beauty that could shake the soul of any man." -- from Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945, David G. Marr, 1984
There's a temple dedicated to her, and many streets in Vietnamese cities are named for her.

I never learned much about the history of Vietnam, and definitely not about Lady Triệu. It would be interesting to try to create a Lady Triệu avatar.