The song of Tiger Valley.

The singer is not recorded.


This song is in the classical form of the songs of conflict with the Chinese. It begins with aggravation caused by the Chinese, followed by a successful retaliation from the Miao and a short respite of Miao ascendancy. This, however, is ended by determined Chinese action and the final defeat of the Miao. The singer frequently incorporated conventional lines, even when these were superfluous to the narrative. So lines 1 and 2 introduce a famine year which did not materialise, line 3 correctly heralds trouble with the Chinese, but difficulties with the Yi foreshadowed in lines 4 and 21, may satisfy the parallelism required by Miao poetic form, but are entirely irrelevant to this story.

Nowhere is the exact nature of this local dispute between the Miao and the Chinese stated. All that we are told is that for a period of three years the Miao were able to cut the road to the Chinese city where it passed through a gorge in Tiger Valley. Despite conventional lines about swords and spears, there were no pitched battles, but rather the occasional ambush in which the Miao crossbows proved devastatingly effective. The story indicates that the Miao leaders were eventually caught in a "snare between two trees" but just what this may have been is not explained. They were held prisoner until Chinese New Year and then put to death.

The two names Bang-huei and Gang-shuei are unusual in that the second element of each is not a Miao word. There are Chinese words that are pronounced in this way, but the vowel sound "uei" does not occur in Miao. It may be that, in fact, these are Chinese names, but document M does not say so, nor does it give any Chinese characters, even in a footnote.

Literal Transcription

You can see the original documents for this song.

You can also see these pages as Word97 documents

Word97 Introduction
Word97 Translation
Word97 Transcription
Word97 Notes

Return to Index of Songs
Return to first page of the archive