This legend is about one of very glorified historical and legendary person famous for its honesty, loyalty, kindness and excellent military strategies. He is often considered as first one to apply in practice Sun Tzu military strategies.  Zhuge Liang is also a character of Chinese literature work- Romance of 3 Kingdoms.


Lets see first about his life and later about significance and consecration.  Zhuge Liang was born in 181 in todays Shandong province. When he was very small he got orphaned. When he was 16 his uncle died too and he moved to Hubei province. While he was hardly studying he was  working as  a farmer in order to feed himself. About him have heard Liu Bei founder of Shu Han state an important warlord and figure who opposed distorted Han dynasty which was dominated by General Cao Cao. Cao Cao was misusing his post and keeping Han emperor as puppet while he governed and while corruption and famine were on rise..

zhuge game
in video game

Liu Bei personally visited Zhuge Liang in his cottage in Hubei province. Liu Bei heard a lot about intelligence and honesty of Zhuge so he decided not to invite him but to come on his own there. They met for the first time in 207 when they created so called Longzhong plan. It was a military strategy and idea of reunification of China under honest and new ruler. It included idea of capturing Xianyang and Luoyang in the northeast and replacing current Han dynasty. For such a large idea king Liu Bei needed to make closer union with another warlord and rebel King Sun Quan who later became ruler of Dong Wu. Liu Bei employed Zhuge Liang as diplomat and sent him to palace of Sun Quan. Thanks to his diplomatic skills and wisdom Zhuge Liang managed to persuade Sun Quan to accept alliance with Liu Bei. Thanks to that in 208 they severely defeated Cao Cao at Battle of Red Cliffs and thanks to that prevented Cao Caos expansion to the south. After this battle Zhuge Liang got position of Military Advisor General in todays Hunan.  Between 212-214 Zhuge Liang provided strategy and logistics for capturing of todays Sichuan province. Zhuge Liang and Liu Bei became even friends. In 223 Liu Bei died and Zhuge Liang wanted to continue to stay loyal to his family and than served his son and was friend to his son Liu Shan. They developed close friendship too and Liu Shan perceived him as his second father. He was nominated as marquis of Wu and executed function of the chancellor and soon became chancellor. He was working on reunification of China during 3 Kingdoms Period. But first he knew that unity must be in Shu Han and therefore went to the south to calm down rebellions on the south that held todays Yunnan, parts of Sichuan and Guizhou province. Campaign finished successfully and Zhuge Liang stabilized southern and southwestern borders of Shu Han. So now he was ready to advance to the north against Cao Wei but before that he decentralized economy and promoted industry and agriculture. He knew that for stable state and waging for economy must be strong. His reform was successful. It was like that because many peasants that were escaping Cao Wei during wars they inhabited todays Sichuan and parts of Yunnan. Also large number of peasants from south inhabited Sichuan. Thanks to that agriculture was spontaneously blooming in Shu Han.  Trade of silk and natural materials developed. Cooper coins were used as currency. Production of silk, salt and iron and development of transport were under control of state like in case of Han dynasty. With secure resources he initiated conquest of Cao Wei in 228  and in total conducted 5 campaigns. Most crucial battles were at Tianshui in 228 which ended in stalemate, at Jieting in 228 which finished with Zhuges failure, Chengsang battle in 229 which ended in success of Zhuge Liang, at Jianwei in 229 Zhuge Liang won, at Qishan in 231 Zhuge was defeated. At Qishan was one of biggest failures for Shu Han. Despite great strategies and highly motivated soldiers army of Cao Wei was much stronger and much larger so army of Shu Han didn’t have chance to compete successfully. But Zhuge Liang wasn’t giving up and wanted to try until his last breath to conquer Cao Wei. In 234 he initiated his last campaign and battle of Wuzhang started. He felt there seriously ill and died during stalemate. After that Shu Han forces retreated. He was buried at Dingjunshan.


He is known as first statesman who used in practice strategies proposed by Sun Tzu in book Arts of War.  He also did a lot of innovations in warfare. Zhuge invented more advanced crossbows and started to use balloons with candles for signaling between troops. He did it first time once when he was surrounded by troops of Cao Wei and he sent signal for help. Zhuge Liang was also a good writer and poet. He liked to spend time in nature and write. Zhuge wrote Mastering Art of War and his own memoirs.

After his death legends and legends were retold about him for hundreds and even more than thousand years. Zhuge Liang was deified by Taoists. There are several temples in Sichuan devoted to Zhuge Liang where his statues are located and people come to worship him for his honesty, bravery and smartness.

Zhuge Liang is one of main characters of Romance of 3 Kingdoms a work which dates from Ming dynasty. He is there described as hero, real warrior, honest and loyal man. There are many fictional events in which Zhuge participated written in this book.

zhuge takeshi
Takeshi Kaneshiro as Zhuge Liang in movie Red Cliff 1 and 2 source;

Zhuge Liang is still popular today. He is depicted in many movies and series. Takeshi Koneshiro plays role of Zhuge Liang in 2008 movie Red Cliff. Zhuge Liang is also a character in card games, video games and comics.  Song about Zhuge Liang from Serial Romance of 3 Kingdoms

ENjoy China 😉

source of featured image:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s