Wang Zhaojun & Zhang Fei

Wang Zhaojun
Wang Zhaojun (52 BC-85 BC), one of the Four Beauties of ancient China, was born in Zigui in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 DC). She was most renowned for the indispensable role she played in keeping good relations between her community and a neighboring nomadic Hun tribe --- Xiongnu. Stories and legends about Wang Zhaojun have been the popular subjects for literary creation as well as film and television.

When under the reign of the Emperor Yuan, the 17-year-old Wang was chosen as a lady-in-waiting and resided in the imperial harem. At that time, many of the ladies in waiting ordered self-portraits and the artist would be bribed to make the portraits much more charming. But Wang Zhaojun was such a confident and righteous woman that she refused to do so, annoying the artist. He defaced the portrait so the Emperor had no idea about her great beauty. So for a further three years Wang stayed unknown to the emperor. The Chief of the Xiongnu came to meet Emperor Yuan in the hope of marrying a Han woman. Emperor Yuan took this opportunity to keep the peace with this aggressive nomadic tribe, by promising to betroth him to one of his waiting ladies. Wang Zhaojun, did not want to idle away her time in this harem, and so volunteered for the marriage and decided to leave her country to go to remote area. Only on the day that Wang was offered to Chanyu did the emperor set eyes on her. Shocked by her beauty, Emperor Yuan was deeply regretful and could hardly keep his promise; however, what had been done could not be retracted.

Zhaojun's arrival in Xiongnu was warmly welcomed by the locals. During her very limited life, Wang contributed greatly to the exchange between the Han and Hun cultures. It was Wang's marriage to the chief of the Hun Tribe that ensured the Western Han were able to maintain a harmonious relation with Xiongnu for more than sixty years. Wang Zhoujun died at the age of 33, but her sons and daughters continued her good deeds in keeping this good relationship between the Han and Hun nations.

Zhang Fei

Zhang Fei (168-221) was an intrepid general of the Shu Kingdom in the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). However, this historical figure was mostly known by Chinese in the fiction 'Romance of Three Kingdoms'. Zhang Fei was born in Hebei Province in the year 168 in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). According to historical data, Zhang Fei together with his two sworn blood brothers Liu Bei and Guan Yu organized armed forces in the year 188 and suppressed the Yellow Turban Uprising for the court. After that, Liu Bei established a much stronger force under his command and nominated Zhang Fei as one of the major generals.

Zhang Fei was such a brave general that millions of Cao troops (Shu's enemy) became terror-stricken by him. He fought for Liu Bei courageously all his life and was honored by many titles and military ranks. In the year 221, Liu Bei was made King of the Shu Kingdom, assisted by Zhang Fei and Guan Yu. It was in this year that Liu Bei crusaded against the Wu Kingdom in the east but lost ground to the enemy. Guan Yu, his brother, was killed in the battle. Zhang Fei decided to take the revenge for him. But before they set forth for backup the following morning, Zhang Fei was murdered by his subordinates whom he had treated very badly.

In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhang Fei was depicted as a lionhearted general who was imposing and imprudent, but in fact he was good at calligraphy and painting. He also treated those learned gently and courteously. However, he had an explosive temper and treated his fellows so strictly that resentment incurred among them, which directly led to Zhang's death. Numerous stories associated with Zhang Fei's intrepidity are widely read nowadays. He was respected by the contemporary people as well as modern people. Zhangfei Temple, in the Yun Yang County, was built in the last years of the Shu Kingdom.
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