Nan Shui/ Nan Shuin/ Nan Jui ('Blessing of the South')

The Nan Shui ('Blessing of the South') was one of two fast cruisers built in Germany in the 1880s for the Chinese Nanyang fleet. Both German ships were similar to three Chinese- built ships, the Kai Che, Ching Ch'ing and Huan T'ai, but had a steel hull in place of the composite iron and wood hulls of the Chinese ships (see Nan Ch'en for details of design and construction).

In July 1884 the Nan Ch'en's main guns were test fired in the Yangtze, and it was discovered that the ship needed strengthening. Both the Nan Ch'en and the Nan Shui were taken into the Kiangnan arsenal to have their structure strengthened.

This came just as conflict was breaking out between China and France. The French inflicted a number of heavy defeats on the Chinese fleets, and Nanking looked to be in danger. The Nan Shui, Nan Ch'en and K'ai Chi were all withdrawn up the Yangtze to protect the city.

The three cruisers then formed the core of a force that was sent out to try and deal with the French. This fleet, which also included the steam frigate Yu-yuen and the sloop Teng Ch'ing, set sail in late December 1884. In mid-February the Chinese ran into the French while leaving Shipu anchorage at Sanmen Bay. The Chinese realised that they were outgunned and attempted to withdraw. The three fast cruisers escaped, but the older frigate and the sloop were both lost. The cruisers were blockaded at Chenhai for the rest of the war.

After the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 the five Nanyang cruisers was all rearmed. The Na Ch'en and Nan Shui were the least changed. They kept their main armament, but had one 4.7in QF gun mounted in place of one of the original 4.7in guns (either on the poop deck or bow). She was also part of the squadron that reoccupied Port Arthur in 1896 in the brief gap between its return by the Japanese and seizure by the Russians.

In 1902 most of the older ships in the Nanyang fleet were sold off. The Nan Shui remained in use as a cruiser-transport. During the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Manchu dynasty the Nan Shui was probably one of the many ships whose crew sided with the rebels. She was based at Shanghai during the First World War. She was finally sold off after the formation of the Nationalist Government of China in 1928.

Alternative spelling

Nan Shuin, Nan Jui

Displacement (standard)


Top Speed


Armour – belt

Cork at waterline





Armaments as built

Two 8.2in Armstrong BL guns
Eight 4.7in Armstrong BL guns

Crew complement


Laid down



 8 January 1884


 March 1884

Sold off


How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 August 2013), Nan Shui/ Nan Shuin/ Nan Jui ('Blessing of the South') ,

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