Xuan Zan

Xuan Zan

Xuan Zan (宣赞) is a character in the epic Chinese tale, the "Water Margin".

Xuan Zan was the son-in-law of a prince. He stood at about 8 feet, had a face like the bottom of a wok, with a nose pointing towards the sky, along with messy hair and a red beard. He was big-sized, and excelled in martial arts, carrying a broad sword into battle. Once, a prince recognised his abilities and decided to let him marry his daughter. However, the Prince's daughter was not pleased with Xuan Zan's looks and died of frustration and hatred. Thus, Xuan was not fully made use of, and became only an officer in the army. That was how Xuan was nicknamed the 'Ugly son-in-law' (丑郡马).

When the Liangshan heroes were attacking Damingfu (now Beijing), Grand Secretary Liang immediately sought help from Imperial Tutor Cai Jing. Xuan Zan stood out and recommended Guan Sheng to be the man to subdue the outlaws. Xuan Zan and Hao Si-wen followed Guan Sheng into his assault on the Liangshan outlaws as vanguard generals. Guan Sheng was tricked into a trap by Huyuan Zhuo and was caught. Later, Xuan Zan was also defeated and captured by Qin Ming. Song Jiang treated his captives with respect, so Guan, Hao and Xuan decided to join the band.

Once, Cai Jing sent Shan Ting-gui and Wei Ding-guo to attack Liangshan. Guan Sheng volunteered to fight the imperial troops, with Xuan Zan and Hao Si-wen following him. Xuan Zan lost the first battle when he was lured by Wei Ding-guo into the enemy formation and captured. The Imperial generals then sent Xuan as a captive back to Beijing, but Bao Xu and Li Kui ambushed the guards and rescued Xuan Zan.

Xuan Zan then became one of the leaders of the Liangshan cavalry and one of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He followed the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao Tartars and rebels, making great contributions. During the Fang La campaign, Xuan was assigned to attack Suzhou. He had a fierce fight with Guo Shiguang, and perished bravely together with Guo in the fight under Yinma Bridge.


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