Wen Chou

Wen Chou

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Wen Chou

Caption=Facial make-up of Wen Chou in Peking Opera
Title=Military general
Kingdom=Yuan Shao
Pinyin=Wén Chǒu
WG=Wen Ch'ou

Wen Chou (? – 200) was a military general under the powerful warlord Yuan Shao during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of China. His force was defeated by that of rival warlord Cao Cao in the Battle of Guandu and he was killed in the midst of battle.

Historical record of Wen Chou is scarce. References to him could be found scattered in the "Records of Three Kingdoms", under the biographies of Yuan Shao, Cao Cao, Xun Yu, and Xun You, from where it could be gathered that Wen Chou was a fierce warrior whose prowess in battle matched that of his counterpart, Yan Liang.

In 200, after Yan Liang was killed in the Battle of Baima, Yuan Shao brought his main army south of the Yellow River and launched a full-fledged attack on Cao Cao. Wen Chou and Liu Bei were sent forth with a vanguard force of more than 5,000 riders to pursue the retreating army of Cao Cao. Making a stand atop a knoll, Cao Cao retained less than 600 cavalries and let loose the remaining horses.

As Wen Chou's troops arrived, many broke ranks to loot the horses and other supplies. Cao Cao then gave order for a counterattack. The small but elite cavalry force scored a brilliant victory over the disorganized enemy and killed Wen Chou in battle. Some say he was killed by Zhang Liao during the confusion.

Wen Chou in Romance of the Three Kingdoms

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms", a historical novel by Luo Guanzhong, was a romanticization of the events that occurred before and during the Three Kingdoms era. In the story, Wen Chou was said to have a face like that of the "xiezhi"ref label|1|I|none. In Chapter 5, Yuan Shao gave high praise to Wen Chou's prowess in battle. Faced with the indomitable enemy commander Hua Xiong, Yuan Shao lamented, "If I had either Yan Liang or Wen Chou here, I would have nothing to fear."

This comment foreshadows the appearance of Wen Chou in Chapter 26, where he volunteered to avenge his close friend Yan Liang, who was killed in the Battle of Baima. Given 70,000 troops, Wen Chou crossed the Yellow River and came for Cao Cao's camp. In an unusual move, Cao Cao turned his entire formation around, placing the supplies in front. While Wen Chou's soldiers were busy looting the supplies, Cao Cao directed his men south onto a knoll, from where they allowed their horses to graze. Wen Chou's soldiers pounced upon the horses as they approached the knoll and became disorganized. Cao Cao then gave the order for a counterattack, forcing the enemies to retreat.

Zhang Liao and Xu Huang, two of Cao Cao's best generals, gave chase. Wen Chou fired two arrows from atop his horse, one of which sliced off the feather on Zhang Liao's helmet and the other hit Zhang Liao's horse in the face. Brandishing his poleaxe, Xu Huang came for Wen Chou but had to retreat when a band of enemy soldiers came to their commander's rescue.

Leading a dozen riders, Guan Yu then cut off Wen Chou's escape and engaged in a duel with the enemy. Within three bouts, Wen Chou withdrew and attempted to evade. However, Guan Yu's horse, Red Hare, was of a superior breed and soon caught up. Guan Yu then slew Wen Chou from behind. Historically this never took place.


I.note label|1|I|none The "xiezhi" (獬豸) is a legendary beast which supposedly looks hideous.


*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

ee also

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

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