Guan Yu - China Travel Guide - Guide - Silkroadtrips - Guan Yu

Guan Yu

There are many mortals who have been worshiped as deities in Chinese history. But perhaps the most influential one is Guan Yu, a sworn-in brother of Liu Bei, one of the warlords in the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280). The general, with a crimson face, long beard, green robe and long-handled knife, is worshiped in restaurants, hotels, families of both poor and rich. A main purpose of worshiping the general is to bring more fortunes. It is interesting how Guan's influence is much more profound than that of Liu Bei or any other figures of his time. The early records of Guan didn't give him too much importance. But in succeeding dynasties, the rulers promoted him as a model of upholding feudal morals such as being loyal to the state and the elder brother. Many folk operas also developed centering on the general. They al like to stress how Guan stayed calm reading an ancient book while a doctor cut away poisoned flesh from his arm without anesthesia ; how Guan protected Liu Bei's wives and child while they were trapped by Cao Cao more importantly, how he let Cao Cao go after the Battle at the Red Cliff at the risk of his own life because he must thank Cao for saving him. Confucius is worshiped as the saint of literary achievements, while Guan Yu is revered for martial virtues. Together they form an important part of the Chinese character. Emperor Guangxu, the second but last emperor of feudal China, granted Guan Yu a title of 26 words to praise his virtues.