Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Classical literature

The zhèngbáiqí (正白旗) or "Plain White Banner" was one of the Qing's Eight Banners. It belonged to the "Upper Three Banners" that were under the direct control of the emperor.

Plain White Banner

English: "Plain White Banner"
Mandarin Chinese: zhèngbáiqí (正白旗)
Manchu: gulu šanggiyan gūsa

 

The Eight Banners

The Eight Banners (Bāqí (八旗) in Chinese or jakūn gūsa in Manchu) were administrative divisions under which all Manchu households were placed. Manchus were typically born under a certain banner and served under that banner for life. In rare cases, families were moved from one banner to another. There were also Eight Mongolian and Chinese Banners.

"Bannermen" enjoyed privileges like steady payment in silver, stipends of rice and land grants, and exemption from torture when caught for a crime. In return, Bannermen were the emperor's servants and could only become warrior or official. Every banner family was to provide a number of warriors and take care of a certain number of horses.

Bannermen lived in Beijing's inner city surrounding the imperial palace, or in one of the many walled garrisons throughout the empire. The Eight Banners served as an elite front-line army in the many Qing wars of conquest and expansion.

 

Notable Plain White Banner people

 

Dàisēnbǎo (岱森保)
Vice commander-in-chief of Mongolia and Baturu (hero). He participated in the Second Jinchuan campaign of 1771-1776, the Lin Shuangwen rebellion in Taiwan between 1787–1788, and fought the Ghurkas in the Sino-Nepalese war of 1788-1889.  He was commemorated for meritorious service in portraits for each of these campaigns.1

 

Tóng Zhōngyì (佟忠義)
One of the last all-round martial arts masters, Tóng Zhōngyì was a Manchu who lived between 1879 and 1963. He first served as a caravan bodyguard, then joined the army and became a military police official at age 30. He worked himself up to becoming an instructor for the Imperial Guards under the Xuantong emperor, whom we know simply as Puyi.

After the fall of the dynasty he was employed as a bone-setting physician for the elite Chahar province (present-day Mongolia) cavalry and in the 6th year of the republic, 1918, he became a wrestling instructor for the Anhui Third Army. Later he became wrestling instructor for the Four Provinces’ combined security forces, captain of the Wuqiao protection group, chief instructor of the Zhili (Hebei) Infantry Military Academy and ultimately became head of the Shaolin division of the Shanghai Municipal Martial Arts Academy.

He is author of "The Method of Chinese Wrestling" (中國摔角用法), first published in 1935, still important for students of martial arts today. Tóng Zhōngyì is the father of Tóng Pèiyún, also known as Ku Ku, "the last Manchu archer", whom I met in 2012. She was traditionally trained in archery and wrestling and won championships in both disciplines, and later continued the family's bone settling practice in Singapore.

 

 

Also see

The full article on Bāqí (八旗), "the Eight Banners".

 

Notes
1. See Battle of Qurman website. Accessed August 11, 2020.
2. See The Last Manchu Archer Part 1 on www.manchuarchery.org.

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