Zhao E
The protrait of Zhao E.jpg
Zhao E chopped off the head of Li Shou with his sword.
EraLater Han dynasty
ChildrenPang Yui
  • Zhao An (father)
Relativesat least three brothers

Pang E (龐娥) or Zhao E (趙娥) was a Chinese noble woman from the Later Han to the Three Kingdoms period. Born in Gansu province, she was the mother of the Cao Wei politician, Pang Yu. She murdered her family's killer before turning herself in. Her case was recorded in Huangfu's Biographies of Exemplary Women (列女傳) which was supposed to be an instructional text for Confucian women. Due to her act of extreme bravery, she was immortalized as one of the memorable acts of courage and virtue performed by a woman in Chinese history.[1] Zhao E was famous as one of the heroines depicted in the Wu Shuang Pu (無雙譜, Table of Peerless Heroes) by Jin Guliang.


Zhao E was married to a member of the Pang family. In 179 AD her father, Zhao An, was killed by his fellow countryman Li Shou. Other members of the Zhao household took ill and died. She and her three younger brothers plotted to avenge him only for the latter three to die from the plague before they could take action, days later her husband also died. When Li Shou learned of their misfortune, he held a banquet to celebrate his personal victory over the Zhao household, haughtily saying:

"All the strong ones of the Zhao clan are now dead and only a weak daughter remains. I need worry no longer."

Hearing this only bolstered Zhao E resolve to take his life.[2]

She armed herself with a sword and set out to find him. She encountered Li Shou in broad daylight and stabbed his horse, causing him to fall from it. She then fought with Li Shou's soldiers and killed him, then cut off his head. With the head she went to the county office and asked to be executed. Magistrate Yin Jia resigned his position rather than punish her and when Zhao E persisted the commandery office had her escorted home.[3]

An amnesty was issued thus she was able to escape punishment honorably. In admiration of her sense of duty the provincial authorities set up a stele at her gate while such courage and enterprise displayed by a woman were reported to the court and celebrated across the empire. Her son, Pang Yu, also earned a reputation for her courage and loyalty, he was appointed Marquis of Guannei during the reign of Emperor Wen of Wei.

See also


  1. ^ Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: Antiquity Through Sui, 1600 B.C.E.-618 C.E. M.E. Sharpe. 1998. ISBN 9780765641823.
  2. ^ Liu, Lydia He; Karl, Rebecca E.; Ko, Dorothy (2013). The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231162906.
  3. ^ Zhu, Yun (2017-03-16). Imagining Sisterhood in Modern Chinese Texts, 1890–1937. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781498536301.