Chinese mythology is full of heroes. Taking inspiration from ancient creation myths, animal mysticism, the religions of Taoism and Buddhism and rich culture, these heroes stand out. They’re unique and wonderful, not just in a usual ‘superhuman strength’ way. Today. we’re looking at 10 great heroes of Chinese mythology.

Bao Gong

A government officer during the reign of the glorious Song dynasty, Bao was the Divine Judge. He is said to have executed his own uncle and opposed aristocratic and wealthy families. He is mythologically remembered for his sound sense of justice.

Guan Yu

Yu is a hero from the Three Kingdoms Era, who represents honour and virtue to the Chinese today. Almost all folk religions of China venerate him, and mythology presents him as a half-lion.

10 Great Heroes of Chinese Mythology
10 Great Heroes of Chinese Mythology

Zhuje Liang

Chinese mythology believes this strategist of the Three Kingdoms era to be the epitome of wit and intelligence. In fact, many Chinese proverbs use his name to symbolize intellect. He was instrumental in the shaping of the Three Kingdoms, through his military strategies, economic measures and absolutely unwavering loyalty.

Chi You

This is the mythical king of the ancient kingdom of Jiu Li. He defended his kingdom against mighty kings to reign over the whole of China and even breathed a dense fog to confound his enemies. Plus, he also summoned a fierce storm. Folklore depicts him with four eyes, six arms and a head of bronze.

Pangu

The Chinese believe creation to be associated with the God Pangu. According to lore, the Big Bang that started the world happened when Pangu broke the shell of the egg encasing him. This primordial egg, containing yin and yang split open, separating the two. The yang, being lighter now occupies the sky and the yin, the earth. Pangu holds the two together with his hand and leg.

10 Great Heroes of Chinese Mythology
10 Great Heroes of Chinese MythologyCredit: Pinterest

Yue Fei

When the Jurchens invaded the Northern Song dynasty and forced them into the South to establish the Southern Song dynasty, hope was bleak. However, Yun Fei was a great general born in a poor farmer family because of whom some of their lost prestige was restored. He fell prey, however, to the politics of the court.

Lin Zexu

This hero, although very real, is the stuff of legends. When opium trading between China, India and Britain grew to an alarming degree and started affecting the Chinese, it was Lin Zexu who put his foot down. He rigorously banned and opposed the trade and consumption of Opium, which started the Opium War.

Da Yu

Most Chinese heroes have a particular virtue associated with them, a virtue that they glorify. For general Da Yu, this virtue is loyalty. Popular is the general who never lost a battle, Da Yu faced a conflict when his elderly mother was on her deathbed and a war was looming. His brave mother then tattooed on her son’s back the order to go to war, enabling him to simultaneously satisfy both his duties. He is the founder of the Xia dynasty – the first imperial dynasty of China.

10 Great Heroes of Chinese Mythology
10 Great Heroes of Chinese MythologyCredit: Pinterest

Wen Shu

Chinese for Bodhisattva Manjushri, Wen is perhaps the wisest mythological hero of China. Depictions picture him as riding a lion with a sword that cuts through ignorance. His association with Mouth Wutai makes him all the more special to the Chinese.

Ji Gong

This is a monk who wears battered shoes and torn clothes, but is just as heroic as your legendary heroes, albeit in a more quirky way. He has weird ways of saving people from danger, such as abducting a bride on the day of her wedding to save the attendees from a landslide. He’s also quite lovable and jolly.

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