How did Guan Yu transform from a general to a “martial saint” without relying on his martial arts

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Guan Yuxiang

In ancient China, there were thousands of famous generals. Guan Yu, as a defeated general, was finally honored as a “martial saint”, relying not on “martial arts”, but on “culture”, and his own traditional virtues such as “benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom and faith”. From generals, loyal officials, righteous men, God of wealth to “Guan Sheng emperor”, Guan Yu’s cultural symbols have gradually upgraded, following the deification track of “Hou as king, Wang as emperor, emperor as Saint, and saint as heaven”. Since the Three Kingdoms period, official propaganda and folk worship have made “Guan Gong” the best prototype of literary creation in the past dynasties, and he has performed the duties of moral pioneer and cultural model of the Chinese nation for generations.

There are few written records of Guan Yu in history. The annals of the Three Kingdoms once commented that “Guan Yu and Zhang Fei are called enemies of all people and world tiger ministers”. Numerous classic battles spread in later generations, including “killing Huaxiong with warm wine”, “killing Yanliang and the literary clowns”, “killing six generals after passing five passes”, and so on. In fact, most of them came from “replacing flowers and trees” or fiction in the romance of the Three Kingdoms. People also believe that the martial arts of “Lu Bu, Ma Chao and Dian Wei” are superior to Guan Yu. Later generations took him as a symbol of a military general, mainly because he was described in the book as a man of both literature and military skills, and was one of the few generals who could guard one side alone. When Liu Bei was called the king of Hanzhong, he worshiped Guan Yu as a former general and general of Jingzhou; After Guan Yu’s death, Liu Chan, the empress, pursued the posthumous title of “Marquis Miao Zhuang”.

In addition to his martial arts, Guan Yu praised his loyalty to Liu Bei. Starting from the end of the Taoyuan uprising, he never left Liu Bei. In the annals of the Three Kingdoms, Shu Shu Shu and Guan Yu Zhuan, he called it “going around with him and avoiding difficulties and dangers”. Among them, “about three things in tun mountain”, “seal and seal” escorted his sister-in-law to “ride alone for thousands of miles” until he was defeated. Maicheng would rather die than surrender to Wu all reflected his loyalty as a minister. In fact, the elevation of Guan Yu’s identity is related to the esteem of the rulers of all dynasties for his “loyalty”. All kings of all dynasties will give Guan Yu the title to publicize his loyalty to the emperor, which is beneficial to the rule of his subordinates and even the people.

In addition to loyal officials, Guan Yu is more respected by ordinary people for his “loyalty” beyond politics. Cao Cao once praised “Yun Changzhen, a righteous man!”, He could not move Guan Yu to “demote Cao” with all his gold, silver and female titles. Guan Yu once sighed, “I will not stay. I will take effect to repay Cao gongnai.”. In doing so, Cao Cao not only did not resent Guan Yu, but also thought that he was benevolent and righteous and valued him more. After that, Guan Yu beheaded Yan Liang for Cao Cao and killed the literary clowns. Finally, he risked the crime of beheading Cao Cao in Huarong Dao in violation of the military writ, and released Cao Cao. His loyalty image was deeply rooted in the hearts of the people because of his attitude of repaying kindness. His “righteous deeds” also happened to be in line with the tenet of “benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom and faith” of Confucianism.

People like to praise heroes with tall statues. In Xuchang, Henan Province, there is the world’s largest Guanyu stone statue, which is 26 meters high and weighs more than 3000 tons. Last year, Bi Heng, a student of the Central Academy of fine arts, showed his graduation work in Beijing and pieced together a 9.7-meter-high statue of Guan Gong with parts of the liberation car. The collision between these two traditional and postmodern sculptures highlights that the public does not lack respect for heroes in any era.

The image of Guan Yu has gradually become the embodiment of benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, courage and propriety through the step-by-step “processing” of literary works and the ruling class. Since the Song Dynasty, the “Guandi Temple” has become increasingly popular among the people. Because it is popular among the people that Guan Gong bless the loyal and righteous people of Wei, such a creed is a necessary virtue for people in any culture, so Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and other religions worship it as a God, without belief conflict, and the image of Guan Gong is more prominent. In addition to the soldiers and military teachers who originally worshiped Guan Gong, other unrelated industries also respected Guan Yu. Among them, the merchant showed the gentleman that he loved money and took the right path by worshiping Guan Yu. He kept his word and did not betray his promise. In addition, it is said that the statue of Guan Gong faces the gate, which can not only attract money into the house, but also guard the gate to block external evil. After being deified by later generations, it gradually became known as the “God of wealth” (in history, there were zhaogongming, the God of wealth, GuanYunChang, and Fan Li, the God of wealth). Before he became the “God of wealth”, Guan Yu was more inclined to be the object of worship of the ruling class, military heroes and intellectuals. After he became religious and God of wealth, he became closer to the common people and lasted for a long time.

Based on the above identities, the evolution of Guan Yu’s cultural symbols followed the process of “Hou being the king, Wang being the emperor, Emperor being the saint, and Saint being the heaven”. The imperial court praised him until the 42nd year of Wanli (1614) of the emperor Shenzong of the Ming Dynasty. The emperor Shenzong of the Ming Dynasty granted him the title of “single knife subduing the devil, shenweiyuan Town, the heavenly revered Guan Shengdi Jun”, officially becoming the “Guan Shengdi Jun”. In the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Guangxu regarded him as “the great emperor of Xuande Guansheng” and “the sage of martial arts” as well as “Confucius, the sage of literature”. The ruling class respected him so highly that the folk Guandi Temple became more and more prosperous. So far, the three places on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, overseas Chinese, the whole Southeast Asia and even the western countries have worshipped him. Guan Yu has become the most important symbol of Chinese culture because of his ethical virtues such as courage, loyalty, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom and faith. Dwick, an anthropologist at the University of Chicago, once said, “I respect this great God. His benevolence, righteousness, wisdom and courage are still meaningful today. Benevolence is love, righteousness is credibility, wisdom is culture, and courage is not afraid of difficulties. If everyone is like Guan Gong, the world will become a better place.”

? chasing “plastic”

Through the ancient and modern “Guan terracotta figures”

? film and television creation talk

Gao Xixi (director of the new TV series “Three Kingdoms”) Gao Xixi set Guan Yu to commit suicide in the new version of “Three Kingdoms”, which once caused great dissatisfaction. Gaoxixi explained that Yu Rongguang, who played Guan Yu at that time, proposed that the death of a hero needs momentum. Being killed by a thousand arrows is neither good-looking nor dignified, so he suggested suicide. Gaoxixi also felt that this adaptation was very good. “There was a feeling that he would die before his ambition was paid. At that time, LV Meng had already led the army to approach, and Guan Yu had no way out. In fact, he was forced to die by Sun Quan.” However, this setting highlights Guan Yu’s loyalty. He stressed that screenwriter zhusujin also felt that Guan Yu was “the most proud in the world”, so he would not allow himself to be killed by others. ?

Zhuangwenqiang (director of the film GuanYunChang) Hong Kong people especially prefer to worship Guan Gong. Many Hong Kong films, especially gangster films, often show scenes of worshiping Guan Gong. In the minds of Hong Kong directors Mai Zhaohui and Zhuang Wenqiang, Guan Yu’s “loyalty” can most move them, and loyalty is also the theme that the two directors, who are famous for shooting police and bandit films, love to express. Zhuangwenqiang said that the ancient loyalty embodied in Guan Yu is the biggest difference from the loyalty of modern drama, that is, it will be more cruel in ancient times, “because every decision in ancient times was fatal, but now every decision is money.” Therefore, although a large number of extremely modern dialogues have been added to the film “GuanYunChang”, the lines like “GuanYunChang, with boundless meaning” are still forcefully spoken by Jiang Wen. In addition, zhuangwenqiang explained why he did not show Guan Yu’s red rabbit horse and horse war drama, “on the one hand, it is more difficult to find a good horse than a good actor. On the other hand, in history, Guan Yu’s horse war was mostly sneaky attacks from behind, and it was not very honorable to show it.” ?

Liuzhenwei (director of the film Yueguang treasure box) liuzhenwei has always been famous for his spoof, subversion and nonsense style. In the film, he made fun of classic films such as red cliff. Among them, his spoof of Guan Yu was bold, even explaining that his red face was caused by reading erotic books. Liu Zhenwei said that in his own mind, he has great respect and admiration for Guan Yu, but the film is for the audience after all, and there is no need to measure it by historical records. ?

JohnWoo (director of the film Red Cliff) although in JohnWoo’s red cliff, Guan Yunchang is not the main character, the audience is still dissatisfied with the setting of Guan Gong. First of all, Guan Yu does not cross the famous red rabbit horse. When he makes an appearance in Changbanpo, he walks out on foot and moves forward in small steps. Even escaping from Cao Ying also grabs a rival horse. He is basically an infantry. Secondly, Guan Yu killed a group of minions, not like the first general. The most shocking thing is that the second master Guan also taught the children to read. “Guan Guan jujiu, a fair lady in the River continent, a gentleman likes to eat…” and said to the children sincerely: “study hard now, and you can eat in the future!” In this regard, JohnWoo said that this is an international film. He just hopes that Western audiences can also understand it. Foreigners will not understand the context of the allusions familiar to many Chinese audiences.

? external articles

Guan Gong is expected to “re” fight against aliens

Known as the king of cult films, the rumored Taiwanese film “Guan Gong vs. aliens” has been known only by its name. Even the “human flesh search” on the Internet failed to find any fragments of the film. Only a few black-and-white stills were circulated on the Internet. In fact, when the film was released in Taiwan, it was called the God of war. In Hong Kong, it was changed to the Hong Kong catastrophe. It was a 1976 work by Taiwanese director chenhongmin, starring Lin Jianyue’s ex-wife Xie Lingling. It is reported that the story is about aliens’ wanton destruction in Hong Kong, and finally Guan Gong appeared to rescue Hong Kong people. A few days ago, it was reported that director penghaoxiang had worked hard to find the original version and acquired the film adaptation copyright. At present, he is in the process of digital restoration. He is more interested in finding yangqianhe and yuwenle as voice over.

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