Zhang Fei

Zhang Fei

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Zhang Fei

Title=Military general
Kingdom=Shu Han
Pinyin=Zhāng Fēi
WG=Chang Fei
Zi=Yìdé (益德)
Post= Marquis Huan(桓侯)

Zhang Fei (?-221 AD) was a military general of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms era of China.

Zhang Fei was shown to have been a masterful general rather than simply a warrior. He treated his superiors with respect, but had little respect for his underlings. He was often warned by Liu Bei that his habit of over-punishing his own soldiers by lashing and killing would eventually bring himself disaster.

Zhang Fei married Xiahou Yuan's daughter, who was captured by Zhang Fei's troops as she was out gathering firewood. They had a total of two daughters, and the older daughter became the empress of Shu Han after marrying Liu Shan, with Zhuge Liang as the matchmaker. After Zhang Fei's eldest daughter had passed away due to natural causes, Zhuge Liang once again played the role of matchmaker, and Liu Shan married Zhang Fei's younger daughter, who thus succeeded her older sister to become the empress of Shu Han.

Zhang Fei is best portrayed through his description and actions depicted in "Records of Three Kingdoms" biography by Chen Shou. Some claim that Zhang Fei was also an excellent painter.

Zhang Fei was killed by his own men Zhang Da and Fan Jiang, while preparing his troops to attack the rival Eastern Wu to avenge the death of Guan Yu. Zhang Da and Fan Jiang went on to defect to Wu.


To the end of Eastern Han, Zhang Fei, alongside Guan Yu, joined Liu Bei's militia against the Yellow Turbans Rebellion. He then became Liu Bei's bodyguard and such a friend as close as brothers with Liu Bei and Guan Yu that they even often slept on the same bed.

When Liu Bei was chased by Cao Cao's army at the Battle of Changban, Zhang Fei, with twenty cavalries, demolished a bridge to slow Cao Cao's pursuit. Zhang Fei stood beside the broken bridge and shouted in challenge at Cao Cao's army, but no one dared make a move against him. He then destroyed the bridge, giving Liu Bei time to escape.

After the Battle of Red Cliffs, Liu Bei took over the southern part of Jing province and made Zhang Fei the Administrator of Yidu (宜都). When Liu Bei attacked Yi province Zhang Fei was commanded to attack Jiangzhou, where he captured an enemy general, Yan Yan. Facing Zhang's insults, Yan Yan condemned him for invading Yi province. Yan Yan was originally ordered to be executed by the angry Zhang Fei, but Yan Yan's fearlessness of death impressed Zhang Fei and his life was pardoned. Yan Yan then surrendered to Liu Bei.

Zhang Fei's victory during the western expedition resulted in the capture of the whole Yizhou. After resisting the force led by Zhang He of Cao army, Zhang Fei led a force upon Hanzhong, which was under Cao's control then, but failed. After Liu Bei finally annexed the important Hanzhong, Zhang Fei was regarded by many as a proper choice for the Administrator, but Wei Yan was appointed instead, to Zhang Fei's disappointment.

After Liu Bei declared himself the Emperor of Shu-Han, he led an army to retake Jing province, which had been taken by Sun Quan. Zhang Fei was preparing to lead ten thousand men to join the campaign. However, two men in Zhang's camp, Fan Jiang and Zhang Da, assassinated him and carried his head to Eastern Wu. When Liu Bei saw Zhang Fei's assistant who was going to report Zhang's death, he sighed, "Oh! Zhang Fei is dead."

Zhang Fei had two sons, Zhang Bao (張苞) and Zhang Shao (張紹). Zhang Bao died young and Zhang Shao worked as an officer of Shu Han. Zhang Bao's son, Zhang Zun (張遵), died resisting the Wei army that eventually ended the southwestern reign of Shu Han.

In fiction

In the historical novel "Romance of Three Kingdoms", Zhang Fei is styled Yìdé (翼德) instead of Yìdé (益德). He was originally a butcher, then eventually became the second member of the Five Tiger Generals. According to the legend, he swore an oath of brotherhood with Liu Bei and Guan Yu, known as the Oath of the Peach Garden. In the novel, he has an obsession with wine that affected his judgement from time to time; however, that is apparently an invention of the author Luo Guanzhong for the novel as Zhang Fei was not known as an alcoholic historically.

At the Battle of Changban, Zhang Fei spotted the tired Zhao Yun and the baby Liu Shan, who Zhao was carrying, pass by. Facing an impending army of thousands, Zhang Fei rode out alone on the Changban Bridge to hold off the pursuing army of Cao Cao to insure Zhao Yun's escape. He glared and pointed his spear, shouting, "I am Zhang Fei of Yan, and anyone who wants to can come and challenge me to fight to the death," which was so effective that it was said to have frightened and held off 10,000 troops and scared Xiahou Jie to immediate death. None of the Cao army dared to proceed and even upon the arrival of Cao Cao himself they were still wavering. Cao Cao, fearing an ambush devised by Zhuge Liang, eventually decided not to attack Zhang Fei.

Zhang Fei, however, was later rebuked by Liu Bei for ordering his soldiers to burn Changban Bridge down so as to delay the pursuit of Cao Cao's forces. Zhang Fei was unhappy about this, and Liu Bei was later proven right when Cao Cao guessed correctly that Zhang Fei had burned the bridge out of fear. Ironically, Zhang Fei had successfully pulled off a ruse against Cao Cao when he commanded his soldiers to attach logs to their horses so as to raise large dust clouds, creating the illusion that Zhang had a large ambush army with him.

Throughout "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", Zhang Fei is shown as exceedingly loyal and known for his strength and skill as a warrior, but also short-tempered, which often got him into problems more often than not on the battlefield. Zhang Fei's fierce sense of loyalty (and perhaps impetuousness) was demonstrated when Guan Yu had left Cao Cao to return to Liu Bei - he had taken refuge when Cao under the condition that he would leave upon discovering his elder brother's whereabouts - and Zhang Fei refused to believe that Guan Yu had not defected to Cao already. Zhang Fei fought with Guan Yu in three fierce rounds, but the latter held back throughout, trying to explain to Zhang the truth. Thankfully, it was resolved without any bloodshed from the brothers.

Zhang Fei had a son Zhang Bao, an equally competent general who served the Shu kingdom dutifully. Zhang Bao later personally executed Zhang Da and Fan Jiang, his father's assassins, when Sun Quan, the ruler of Wu, sent them both back to Shu Han as a goodwill gift to negotiate for peace, as Liu Bei had personally led an army against Wu.

Zhang Fei also appears on the Kunqu stage as a hualian. Particularly famous is the scene "The Swaying Reeds", in which he ambushes, humiliates and sets free Zhou Yu.

Zhang Fei had two daughters whom both married Liu Shan, the son of Liu Bei and the second and last ruler of Shu.

Modern depictions

* Zhang Fei appears in multiple video game titles under Koei's umbrella historical simulation series. These include "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", "Dynasty Warriors" and "Dynasty Tactics". In "Dynasty Warriors", he carries a snake spear called the "Viper Blade", which receives another blade at the end in "Dynasty Warriors 6". In Romance of the Three Kingdoms he is wielding the "Viper Blade" and have the highest WAR (except Lu Bu) ability in game but he has low INT.

* He also appears in "Kessen II", the one title in the "Kessen" series to portray the Three Kingdoms era. In many of these titles, Zhang Fei, just as with other characters of the novel, is exaggerated in personality and appearance. Zhang Fei's drunkenness and brutish bearing are two such embellished traits.

* Zhang Fei was present in "Warriors Orochi", in which he and Guan Yu were forced to work for Orochi under the threat that Liu Bei would be executed. He and Guan Yu later reconciled and joined Zhao Yun's Coalition, in an attempt to rescue Liu Bei.

*Zhang Fei also appears in a number of non-Koei titles, such as "" and "Destiny of an Emperor".

* Zhang Fei is also present in CCTV's "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" televised adaptation, portrayed much as he appears in the novel.


*Legend has it, that on the night Zhang Fei was murdered by Zhang Da and Fan Jiang, his assassins found him sleeping with his eyes wide open and were about to abandon their plot, but his snoring revealed that he was indeed asleep. In modern China, when someone sleeps in caution or with half-opened eyes they are sometimes referred to as "Zhang Fei eyes".
*Zhang Fei enjoyed gardening. There are some trees he planted in Chengdu that exist to this day.Fact|date=April 2008

ee also

*Three Kingdoms
*Personages of the Three Kingdoms
*"Records of Three Kingdoms"
*"Romance of the Three Kingdoms"


*cite book|author=Chen Shou|title=San Guo Zhi|publisher=Yue Lu Shu She|year=2002|id=ISBN 7-80665-198-5
*cite book|author=Luo Guanzhong|title=San Guo Yan Yi|publisher=Yue Lu Shu She|year=1986|id=ISBN 7-80520-013-0
*cite book|author=Lo Kuan-chung; tr. C.H. Brewitt-Taylor|title=Romance of the Three Kingdoms|publisher=Tuttle Publishing|year=2002|id=ISBN 0-8048-3467-9

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Look at other dictionaries:

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