Sun Shangxiang (archer)

Sun Shang Xiang in Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI

Lady Sun, or more famously Sun Shangxiang or Sun Shang Xiang, was the daughter of Sun Jian and Lady Wu and younger sister of Sun Ce and Sun Quan. The name Shang Xiang is fictional. Her real name is not recorded.


Lady Sun was the sister of Wu’s first Emperer, Sun Quan, and the only recorded daughter of Sun Jian and Lady Wu. Although history records no given name for Lady Sun (or her sisters) she is, in legends, commonly referred to by the name Sun Shang Xiang. She was a woman of strong personality as shown in events throughout her life. Fa Zheng’s biography in Sanguo Zhi compares her courage and energy to that of her brothers.

Marriage Pact with ShuEdit

In AD 209, she was given to Liu Bei in marriage as part of an alliance between Sun Quan and Liu Bei. At the time Lady Sun was a little over twenty years old and a woman of pleasant appearance and unique character, but as a result of the marriage she took general control over his household along with guardianship over his son and heir apparent, Liu Shan. This is because both of Liu Bei’s former wives, Lady Gan and Lady Mi, had already died of natural causes. Because Lady Sun preferred to be accompanied by more than a hundred female attendants, all of whom were capable of bearing arms, whenever Liu Bei visited her he trembled for his life (3). They are not recorded as having had any children.

Return to WuEdit

However, two years later in AD 211 the Sun-Liu alliance was badly weakened due to disputes over Jing Province. It was at this time, after being contacted by an agent from Wu, that Lady Sun returned to her brother’s court. According to Zhao Yun’s biography, the Zhao Yun Bie Zhuan, Lady Sun attempted to take Liu Shan with her but was stopped by Zhao Yun and Zhang Fei (who were presumably sent by Zhuge Liang). It was through heavy negotiations that Lady Sun surrendered the young heir to the two generals before she journeyed downriver to the Southlands. It is through this event that the marriage and alliance effectively ended.



  • Succesfully escaped from Shu in 211.


Differences between Fact & FictionEdit

  • Sun Shang Xiang is sometimes mentioned as Sun Ren or Sun Li. Those names too are fictional.
  • Sun Shang Xiang did not commit suicide in 221 upon hearing of Liu Bei's defeat at Yiling.
  • When returning to Wu, she stole away with Liu Shan. Liu Shan was recovered, but Sun Shang Xiang returned safely to Wu.
  • Her archery skills have been mentioned in historical records, but they were never used in battle.