Gongjin's Campaign Memorials
Gongjin's Campaign Memorials

The following is a list of animals mentioned in both fictitious and historical accounts of the Later Han, Three Kingdoms and Jin periods.

Horses in historical texts[]

Chinese Pinyin English Owner(s)
汗血馬 hànxuè mǎ Blood-Sweating Horse Various
An extinct species. Also known as "Blood-Sweating Thousand-li Horse" (Hànxuè qiānlǐmǎ 汗血千里馬)[1] and Ferghana Horse (dàyuānmǎ 大宛馬). They were one of China's earliest major imports and stem from the Dayuan nation in Ferghana Valley, Central Asia. They supposedly had red-coloured sweat, but this might've been due to a disease called P. multipapillosa. Red Hare might have been a Blood-Sweating Horse (see: Red Hare).
的盧 dílú Hex Mark Liu Bei
From Liu Bei's biography in Records of the Three Kingdoms:


“The Tales of Generations says: “Liu Bei lived in Fancheng and Liu Biao treated him very well. But Liu Biao was a person who never trusted people much so he invited Liu Bei to a dinner party. Kuai Yue and Cai Mao wanted to use this occasion to capture Liu Bei. Liu Bei found out, excused himself, and left on his horse named Hex Mark (dílú 的盧). To the west of Xiangyang, there was a river called the Tan river, where Liu Bei was trapped. Liu Bei shouted, ‘Hex Mark, danger has come, you have to try your best’. The horse jumped up three zhang and cleared the river. The pursuing troops arrived and shouted, ‘Why did you leave so quickly?’.”
Sun Sheng 孫盛 comments that this story is fiction.
紫騂 zǐxīng Purple Bay Cao Zhi
Cao Pi
Cao Zhi’s Xiàn wéndì mǎ biǎo: “I your subject in the last Emperor Wu [Cao Cao] 's reign, acquired one Purple Bay (zǐxīng 紫騂) from Dayuan. Its shape and technqiue matched that on the diagram, excelling at stablising its head and tail. Taught and ordered to exercise obeisance, [it] now has promptly been capable [of doing so]. [It is] even capable of moving with the drums’ rhythm in correspondence. [I] Humbly present this memorial to contribute [it].”
赤兔 chìtù Red Hare Lü Bu
Recorded twice in Lü Bu's biography in Records of the Three Kingdoms:

布有良馬曰赤兔。常與其親近成廉、魏越等陷鋒突陳,遂破燕軍。而求益兵眾,將士鈔掠,紹患忌之。 [3]

“Lü Bu possessed a good steed named Red Hare. Together with his confidants Cheng Lian and Wei Yue, Lü Bu led frequent attacks on Zhang Yan’s troops and eventually defeated him.”


“The Cao Man zhuan said: the people used the phrase: “Among men Lü Bu, among horses, Red Hare.”
絕影 juéyǐng Shadow Runner Cao Cao
From Cao Cao's biography in Records of the Three Kingdoms:


“The Book of Wei states: The horse that His Excellency was riding was called Shadow Runner (juéyǐng 絕影), and he was struck by stray arrows, injuring him through the cheek and in the foot, and His Excellency was also injured, in the right arm. The Shiyu states: [Cao] Ang was unable to ride so he led his horse to Duke Cao. Because of this he was able to escape, but as a result Ang came to a bad end.”
驚帆 jīngfān Startled Sail Cao Zhen
Cui Bao’s Comments on Ancientry and Contemporary: “Cao Zhen had a horse named Startling Sail (jīngfān 驚帆), addressing by its spurring gallop[’s speed] similar to how fast fierce gale could raise a sail.”
絕影 báigú White Falcon Cao Zhang
Cao Pi
Li Cong’s Record of Extraordinary Deviationists: “Later Wei’s Cao Zhang, possessing a very unconventional character, had by chance met a gallant horse, and he was very fond of it, but its master cherished it much as well. [Cao] Zhang said: ‘I have pretty concubines that could be exchanged, only for your decision.” The horse’s master thus pointed at one maid, [Cao] Zhang then exchanged her [for the horse]. The horse was called as White Falcon (báigú 白鶻) . Later because of a hunting action, [the horse was] offered to Emperor Wen [Cao Pi].:Sometimes written as “White Magpie” (báique 白鵲).
白鵠 báihú White Swan Cao Hong
Cao Cao?
Wang Jia’s Account to Replenish Omission: “For Cao Hong, the younger cousin of Emperor Wu [Cao Cao], his household was teeming with wealths and properties, with proud horses in groups. During Emperor Wu [Cao Cao]’s expedition against Dong Zhuo, he travelled at night and lost his horse, so [Cao] Hong gave the horse he was riding on to the Emperor [Cao Cao]. His horse was called as ‘White Swan (báihú 白鵠 )’ . When this horse was running, [the rider would] only hear in the ear the sound of the wind, while its leg were [fast] like not trampling the ground. At Bian River, where [Cao] Hong could not cross [on foot], the Emperor [Cao Cao] appointed [Cao] Hong to get on the horse for a mutual ferrying, so they traveled several hundreds of li, in the twinkling of an eye arrived [at their destination]. The hairs on the horse’s legs were not even wet. Contemporary people said it was riding the winds to travel, just another mightly steel of the era. Proverb told that: ‘Upto the air it leaps, Cao clan’s White Swan.’“:Sometimes the name of the horse was written as “White Crane” (báihè 白鶴 ).
黃耳 huángěr Yellow Ears Cao Pi?
Guo Pu’s Commentery on Tale of King Mu, Son of Heaven: “At Wei’s time the Xianbei tribe contributed a thousand-li[-travelling] steed, with white color but two yellow ears, [so it was] named as ‘Yellow Ears (Huanger 黃耳 )’.”:The event was believed by some scholars to take place in Cao Pi’s reign.

Nameless horses[]

Chinese Pinyin English Owner(s)
纖驪 xiānlí Fine Pure Black Steed Cao Pi
Sun Quan
Cao Pi’s Letter to Sun Quan: “Previously [I had] sent Yu Jin and Guo Jifu to put at disposal my Fine Blacksteed (xiānlí 纖驪 ) horses, and formerly wanted to send [Yu] Jin to deliver them in person. Considering that my General [Sun Quan] may perhaps want to obtain them sooner, now thereby [I have] given out [the horses] to Xu Feng [to bring them] forward. These two horses that I often rode on personally, are trained to be superb and perfect, overrunning several hundreds of thousands of stallions of best choice, so riding on them is indeed a great pleasant. Even in the Middle Kingdom[,] though abounding in horses, such well-known eminent trotter, would just emerge sometimes.
cōng “horse with a bluish white colour” Sun Jian
From Sun Jian's biography in Records of the Three Kingdoms:


Wei Zhao’s Book of Wu: “[Sun] Jian was following up a success and he had gone a long way in advance; his party had the worst of a skirmish at Xihua. [Sun] Jian was wounded and hell from his horse and he was lying among some bushes; the men of his command were divided and scattered and did not know where [Sun] Jian was. The horse [Sun] Jian rode was a bluish white horse, and it came fast back to the camp and it fell on the ground and neighed excitedly. The officers and soldiers followed the horse to the bushes and they found [Sun] Jian.”[5]
guā Piebald
(literally "tan horse")
Pang De
Fu Xuan’s Preface to Rhapsody of Riding Carriages and Horses: “When Ma Chao smashed Su clan’s castle, the castle had more than a hundred of gallant horses inside, so from [Ma] Chao to his subordinates, they all strived for taking the fat and good[-looking] ones, while General Pang De merely took a piebald horse, whose apparent shape was de facto ugly, and everybody also laughed at him. Subsequently … when Ma Chao battled at the south of Wei River, its rapid legs thrushed like lightning, and [whoever] pursuring it was impossible to catch up, so everybody were then convinced.”

Animals in fictitious texts[]

Chinese Pinyin English Owner(s)
捲毛赤兔馬 juǎnmáo chìtùmǎ “frizzy-haired horse the color of a red hare”
“a curly-haired, reddish horse”
(literally: "curly-haired red hare horse")
Meng Huo
Lady Zhurong
Appears in Romance of the Three Kingdoms chapter 87 and 90:
“Many generals were on horseback on both sides. In the middle was the King [Meng Huo], who advanced to the front. He wore a golden, inlaid headdress; his belt bore a lion's face as clasp; his boots had pointed toes and were green; he rode a frizzy-haired horse the color of a red hare (juǎnmáo chìtùmǎ 捲毛赤兔馬); he carried at his waist a pair of swords chased with the pine amber.”[6]
“Just as the host got clear of the Silver Pit Palace, it was stopped by a cohort led by Zhang Ni. At once the Mangs deployed, and the lady leader [Zhurong] armed herself with five swords such as she used. In one hand she held an eighteen-foot signal staff, and she sat a curly-haired, reddish horse (juǎnmáo chìtùmǎ 捲毛赤兔馬).” [7]
The English version gives slightly different names/descriptions of these horses, but the Chinese text always calls them 捲毛赤兔馬.
黃驃馬 huángbiāomǎ Dun Pony
(literally: “yellow valiant horse”)
Appears in Romance of the Three Kingdoms chapter 87:
“At once a general rode toward the leader Wang Ping. His name was Mangyachang. His weapon was a huge headsman's sword, and he rode a dun pony. Riding up to Wang Ping, the two engaged.”[6]
爪黃飛電 zhǎohuáng fēidiàn Yellow-Hoofed Flying Lightning Cao Cao
Appears in Romance of the Three Kingdoms chapter 20:
“Cao Cao rode a dun horse called "Flying-Lightning," and the army was one hundred thousand strong.”[8]
玉追 yùzhuī Jade Chaser Zhang Fei
Recorded in the 10th century geographical treatise Taiping huanyi ji 太平寰宇記 (Universal Geography of the Taiping Era):
A White Horse Temple associated with Zhang Fei could be found in Jiangxia 江夏 County, though it had never been made clear about what relation existed between this “White Horse” and the Shu-Han general. Then in Ming Dynasty, a phrase probably to rival Lü Bu’s “Among men, Lü Bu; among horses, Red Hare” suddenly emerged, claiming instead “Among men, Zhang Fei; among horses, Jade Chaser ”.
Sometimes the name of the horse was written as “King Chaser” (wángzhuī 王追 ).
碧眼三角白水牛 Bìyǎn sānjiǎo bái shuǐniú Jade-Eyed Three Horned White Buffalo Shamoke
Shamoke's horse in a fictitious story based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms. A ferocious animal that was known as the "King of all Buffalo". It was said that this beast could run pretty quickly, "almost as fast as a horse".
畢月烏 bìyuèwū Moon Crow of Net Zhang Fei
Besides ‘Jade Chaser’, another name, ‘Pantherine Moon Crow’ (baoyuewu 豹月烏 ) , was also suggested by scholars and dramatists from Yuan to Qing Dynasties to address Zhang Fei’s horse. Its variations include ‘Moon-embracing Crow’ (baoyuewu 抱月烏 ) and ‘Moon-hiding Crow’ (biyuewu 閉月烏 ) , but each of them should be plainly homophone or synonym of ‘Moon Crow of Net’ (biyuewu 畢月烏 ) , the representive animal of Net Mansion among the Chinese constellations.
虎, 報豺, 狼, 毒蛇, 惡蝎 , bàochái, láng, dúshé, èxiē tigers, leopards, wolves, venomous snakes, scorpions King Mulu
Appear in Romance of the Three Kingdoms chapter 90:
“‘Who is the man?’ asked Meng Huo.
Chief Dailai replied, ‘He is Mulu, King of the Bana Ravine. He is a master of witchcraft who can call up the wind and invoke the rain. He rides upon an elephant and is attended by tigers, leopards, wolves, venomous snakes, and scorpions.’”[7]
赤毛牛 chìmáo niú Red Haired Ox Meng Huo
Appears in Romance of the Three Kingdoms chapter 89:
“The King of the Mang [Meng Huo] was clad in mail of rhinoceros hide and wore a bright red casque. In his left hand he bore a shield, and his right gripped a sword. He rode a red ox.”[9]
白龍 báilóng White Dragon Zhao Yun
Zhao Yun's horse is named in a Qing drama Changbaopo 長板坡 in a collection called Liyuan Jicheng 梨園集成.
白象 báixiàng White Elephant King Mulu
King Wutugu
Appears in Romance of the Three Kingdoms chapter 90:
“Then they told Meng Huo of the coming of the King of the Bana Ravine, and he went out to meet Mulu. Mulu rode up on his white elephant, dressed in silks, and with many gold and pearl ornaments. He wore a double sword at his belt, and he was followed by the motley pack of fighting animals that he fed, gamboling and dancing about him.”[7]
“The sixteenth day of the long fight found Wei Yan leading his oft-defeated troops once more against the rattan-protected foe. King Wutugu on his white elephant was well in the forefront. He had on a cap with symbols of the sun and moon and streamers of wolf's beard, a fringed garment studded with gems, which allowed the plates or scales of his cuirass to appear, and his eyes seemed to flash fire. He pointed the finger of scorn at Wei Yan and began to revile him.”[7]


The Three Kingdoms cardgame Sanguo sha 三国杀 has a horse-deck with images from various Three Kingdoms animals:



  1. de Crespigny, "Duan Jiong" in A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms, pages 187-190.
  2. Pei Songzhi. Annotations to "Book of Shu 2" in Records of the Three Kingdoms.
  3. Chen Shou. "Book of Wei 7" in Records of the Three Kingdoms.
  4. Pei Songzhi. Annotations to "Book of Wei 7" in Records of the Three Kingdoms.
  5. De Crespigny, "The Biography of Sun Chien"
  6. 6.0 6.1 Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Chapter 87. Trans. Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor. sd.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Chapter 90. Trans. Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor. sd.
  8. Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Chapter 20. Trans. Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor. sd.
  9. Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Chapter 89. Trans. Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor. sd.