Why Is Guan Yu So Famous?

Being one of the most popular historical figures in Chinese culture, Guan Yu is considered the epitome of bravery, righteousness, and loyalty in China. He is popularly identified by his long, lush beard and his red face. In this post, we will discuss, in detail, Guan Yu’s history, including his birthplace, height, roles in ancient China, spouse, children, weapon, death, and why he is so famous. So, to learn everything about the Chinese legend Guan Yu continue reading.

Who is Guan Yu?

Guan Yu
Guan Yu

Guan Yu was a legendary Chinese military general in ancient China during the Eastern Han Dynasty who served under the warlord Liu Bei. Guan Yu was also called Guan Yunchang, Emperor Guan, Lord Guan, his courtesy name, originally Chang Sheng. Guan Yu served under Liu Bei alongside a close friend, Zhang Fei, and the trio made a powerful army that’s still being discussed today.

Guan Yu was a crucial part of the establishment of Liu Bei’s empire during the Three Kingdom era in China and the fall of the Han Dynasty. He governed and protected Jing Province almost seven years after Liu Bei left for Yi Province in 214 BC.

What did Guan Yu do?

Emperor Guan

Guan Yu was a Chinese military general who strategized battles and led armies to war in ancient China. He also governed some provinces in ancient China during the Eastern Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period. He served under Liu Bei and was, at some point, the King of Shu. Guan Yu is also recognized for his role in the rise of the Shu Kingdom (221 AD-263 AD).

In his early years, Guan Yu fled his hometown after committing an offense that isn’t known to date, met with Zhang Fei and Liu Bei, and went on to form powerful armies.

Who is Guan Yu’s wife?

Guan Yu’s wife was known as Lady Dun, whom he married after his victory against the Lu Bu forces. Guan Yu met Lady Dun in Xiapi, where he had gone to fight alongside Liu Bei and Cao Cao. Lady Dun’s husband, Qin Yilu, had been killed during the war before Guan Yu asked to marry her.

Guan Yu’s sons

Guan Yu sired two sons, namely; Guan Ping, the eldest son, and Guan Xing, the youngest son. Like his father, Guan Ping was a military general who served under Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty period. Guan Xing, also known as Anguo (courtesy name), served as an official in the Shu state during the Three Kingdoms era in ancient China.

When was Guan Yu born?

Guan Yu was born in 160 AD, supposedly in Xie county. He is believed to be from the Hedong Commandery, modern-day YunCheng in Shanxi. According to historians, Guan Yu was a studious young boy who especially loved the Zuo Zhuan history book. Guan Yu’s parents and siblings aren’t known.

Why Guan Yu died/ How did Guan Yu die?

In 220 AD, as Guan Yu was battling Sun Quan’s forces, the latter captured the families of Guan Yu’s soldiers. The soldiers lost their fighting spirit after this incident, deserted Guan Yu, and surrendered to the enemy to reunite with their families. Guan Yu was left with only his eldest son and his subordinate, Zhao Lei, and they were later captured alive by Ma Zhong in an ambush. Guan Yu and his son were then executed.

How old was Guan Yu when he died?

Guan Yu was 60 years old when he faced his death by execution. He was beheaded by Sun Quan’s forces in Nanzhang county, which was then called Linju, in 220 AD. Guan Yu was buried in the present-day Guanlin Temple in Luoyang.   

How tall was Guan Yu?

Lord Guan

There are no detailed or clear descriptions of Guan Yu’s appearance; however, some historians suggest that Guan Yu was about 6 feet 9 inches tall. Another popular physical attribute of Guan Yu is that he had a long lush beard. Today, a statue made out of about 4000 bronze strips, standing 58m high, and weighing 1,197 tonnes of Guan Yu is erected in Jingzhou, China, to honor him.

What weapon did Guan Yu use?

Green Dragon Crescent Blade

Guan Yu’s weapon was popularly known as the “Green Dragon Crescent Blade,” which was a Guandao, a.k.a Yanyuedao. This weapon was a double-edged blade resembling a halberd, a popular pole weapon in Chinese martial arts. It is alleged that Guan Yu’s Guandao was about 82 catties heavy, around 49.2kg.  

Is Guan Yu a real person?

Guan Yu was a real person in ancient China during the late Eastern Han Dynasty who was a powerful Chinese military general. After his death, he was deified and began to be worshipped due to his unmatched loyalty, skills, and bravery. Today, Guan Yu is known as the god of war in China. 

Is Guan Yu good?

guan yu god of wealth

In terms of morals, Guan Yu was considered upright and righteous in ancient China. He was also a loyal leader, one of the qualities he’s praised for. In regards to skill, Guan Yu was exceptionally good on the battlefield. He contributed to the success of many battles and was considered one of the bravest men of his time. His prowess in martial arts is also admired to date.

Why did Guan Yu become a god?

Because of his bravery, loyalty, martial arts prowess, morals, and wisdom, Guan Yu was deified as a god by Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty after passing on. During the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644, Guan Yu earned a higher rank with the title “Heavenly Emperor.” Today, Chinese culture recognizes Guan Yu as the god of war.

Why is Guan Yu so famous?

One of the reasons for Guan Yu’s popularity was his fighting skills and bravery. Guan Yu led numerous battles in ancient China and emerged victorious in almost all of them. Also, his loyalty was unheard of. The majestic statue of Guan Yu in China has contributed to keeping his fame alive in modern China.


Guan Yu is one of the most honored Chinese military generals in ancient China due to his admirable qualities and abilities. Worshipped as the god of war in China, Guan Yu’s legacy lives on. Today, Guan Yu is a popular character in films, books, and video games.  


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