top of page

When tigers are swimming across the river...


[Song Jun][2] was promoted to the position of Grand Protector of Jiujiang.[3] The county was much troubled by tiger attacks, which caused calamities time after time. [The local authority] often recruited [men] to set traps, which [caused] even more injuries. Upon his arrival, [Song] Jun gave an instruction to the subordinate towns, saying: “Tigers and leopards live in the mountains, turtles and alligators in the water - each with a place of its own. Besides, fierce beasts are as common in the Jiang-Huai region[4] as chickens and pigs in the north. Now [the natural inhabitants] are causing calamities, the blame should be put on cruel officers. To waste manpower on the capture [of the wild beasts] goes against the principle of caring for [the people]. [We] ought to commit ourselves to repelling the wily and the corrupted and seek to promote the honest and the good-hearted. It is advisable to remove all traps and issue tax reliefs.” Later, it was said that the tigers swam away together eastwards across the rivers.


The courier routes in the Xiaomian[6] region used to suffer greatly from tiger attacks. Three years after [Liu] Kun[7] had taken charge, humane governance prevailed. Tigers, with their pups on their back, all swam away across the river.

[1] “Diwu Zhongli Song Han liezhuan” 第五鍾離宋寒列傳 in Fan Ye 范曄 (398-445), Hou Han shu 後漢書: [2] Song Jun 宋均 (d. 76) was a minister and a classical scholar during the Eastern Han (25-220). [3] Jiujiang 九江 at the time included today’s Jiangxi province and parts of Anhui and Jiangsu. [4] Jiang-Huai 江淮 refers to the Yangtze River and the Huai River. [5] “Rulin liezhuan shang” 儒林列傳上 in Fan Ye’s Hou Han shu: [6] Xiaomian 崤黽 roughly corresponded to today’s Mianchi 澠池 in the northwest of Henan province. [7] Liu Kun 劉昆 (d. 57) was a descendant of Liu Wu, Prince of Liang 梁王劉武 (d. 144 BCE).

"Hongnong duhu tu" 弘農渡虎圖 by Zhu Duan 朱端 (15th-16th century) depicting Liu Qun and others watching tigers crossing the river.

Image credit: The Palace Museum, Beijing (

Detail of the hanging scroll above, showing a tiger and the pup on its back.


Copyright Declaration*:

The texts and images used on the website of Rachelle's Lab are either from the public domain (e.g. Wikipedia), databases with open data licenses (e.g. Shuhua diancang ziliao jiansuo xitong 書畫典藏資料檢索系統, National Palace Museum, Taipei), online libraries that permit reasonable use (e.g., or original work created for this website.

Although fair use of the website for private non-profit purposes is permitted, please note that the website of Rachelle's Lab and its content (including but not limited to translations, blog posts, images, videos, etc.) are protected under international copyright law. If you want to republish, distribute, or make derivative work based on the website content, please contact me, the copyright owner, to get written permission first and make sure to link to the corresponding page when you use it.



*Read more about copyright and permission here.



bottom of page