Guan Yu

关羽 (雲長), Yunchang
Guan Yu was a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of China. He played a significant role in the civil war that led to the collapse of the Han Dynasty and the establishment of the Kingdom of Shu of which Liu Bei was the first emperor. As one of the best known Chinese historical figures throughout East Asia Guan Yu039s true life stories have largely given way to fictionalized ones mostly found in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms or passed down the generations in which his deeds and moral qualities have been lionized. Guan Yu was deified as early as the Sui Dynasty and is still being worshipped by Chinese people today especially in southern China. He is respected as the epitome of loyalty and righteousness. Guan Yu is traditionally portrayed as a redfaced warrior with a long lush beard. While his beard was indeed mentioned in the Records of Three Kingdoms the idea of his red face may have derived from a later description of him in Chapter One of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms where the following passage appears: quotXuande took a glance at the man who stood at a height of nine chi and had a two chi long beard his face was of the color of a Zao with red lips his eyes were like that of a phoenix039s and his eyebrows resembled silkworms. He had a dignified aura and looked quite majestic.quot Alternatively the idea of his red face could have been borrowed from opera representation where red faces depict loyalty and righteousness. Supposedly Guan Yu039s weapon was a quotGuanDaoquot named quotGreen Dragon Crescent Bladequot which resembled a halberd and was said to weigh 82 catties about 49.5 kg or 109 lbs. A wooden replica can be found today in the Emperor Guan Temple in Xiezhou County China. He traditionally dons a green robe over his body armour as depicted in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In 219 Guan Yu attacked the nearby enemy city of Fancheng present day Xiangfan Hubei which was guarded by Cao Ren and besieged it. In autumn heavy showers in the region caused the Han River next to the city to overflow. The flood destroyed reinforcements troops from Cao Cao led by Yu Jin and Pang De. Both Yu and Pang were captured by Guan Yu in battle. However reinforcements led by Xu Huang managed to force Guan Yu039s troops to retreat. At that time Guan Yu realised that Eastern Wu had secretly formed an alliance with Cao Wei and attacked Jingzhou while he was attacking Fancheng. The commanders Mi Fang and Fu Shiren he left in charge of Jingzhou had surrendered to Eastern Wu. When Guan Yu039s troops received news that their families in Jingzhou had fallen into the control of Eastern Wu some of them started deserting and returning to Jingzhou to reunite with their families. Guan Yu039s army fell in numbers significantly after several of his troops deserted. Guan attempted to retreat to Bashu in the west but was surrounded and besieged by Eastern Wu forces at Maicheng southeast of present day Dangyang Hubei. Guan Yu attempted to break out of the encirclement together with his son Guan Ping and subordinate Zhao Lei but failed. They were captured in Zhang Town east of modern day Yuan039an County Hubei and executed by Eastern Wu forces after refusing to surrender. Sun Quan sent Guan Yu039s severed head to Cao Cao who performed the proper funeral rites and buried Guan Yu039s severed head with full honours. Guan Yu was granted the posthumous title of Marquis of Zhuangmou . Source: Wikipedia