Uncover the mystery: did Zhugeliang create a wooden ox and a horse?

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Mysterious wooden ox and flowing horse

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three countries

In the 102nd chapter of the romance, there is a description of Zhugeliang making wooden oxen and horses: suddenly one day, Chang Shi Yang Yi said: “that is, all the grain and rice are in the sword Pavilion, and the men, cattle and horses are inconvenient to carry. What can I do?” Kongming smiled and said, “I have been planning for a long time. The wood accumulated by the former and the big wood bought by Xichuan are very convenient to teach people to make wooden cattle and horses and carry grain and rice. Neither cattle nor horses can eat water. They can be transported day and night.” Everyone was shocked and said, “since ancient times and today, we have never heard of a wooden ox and a flowing horse. I wonder what the prime minister has done to create this strange thing?” Kongming said, “I have made a wooden ox and a flowing horse according to law, but it is not yet complete. I will make it clear that the method of making a wooden ox and a flowing horse is round in size, wide and narrow in length. You will see it clearly.” Great joy.

Then introduced the method of making wooden cattle: square abdomen, bent head, one foot and four feet; Put your head in your collar and your tongue in your stomach Each cow carries a month’s food for ten people. People don’t work hard, and cows don’t eat. How to make a flowing horse: the rib is three feet and five inches long, three inches wide, and two inches and two cents thick… The generals looked at it once, and they all bowed down and said, “the prime minister is really a God and a man!”

After Sima Yi heard about it, he sent people to rob several wooden oxen and flowing horses. He disassembled them and imitated them. Within half a month, more than a thousand were made. Once used, they were as effective as those made by the Shu army. They moved forward and backward as if they were alive. Therefore, the Wei army also used them to carry grain and grass in Shaanxi, thinking it was a good idea to “keep going”. I don’t know, this is exactly the plan of Zhugeliang. It turned out that on the surface, the wooden oxen and horses made by the Wei army were almost the same as those made by the Shu army, but there were secret devices in the mouths of these oxen and horses. When Zhugeliang found out that the Wei army began to use their imitated wooden oxen and horses to carry grain and grass, he was overjoyed. He sent General Wang Ping to lead 1000 soldiers to join the transport team dressed as the Wei army. He secretly twisted the tongues of the wooden oxen and horses, making the oxen and horses unable to move. Just when Wei Bing was suspected of being a monster, Zhugeliang sent another 500 soldiers dressed up as divine soldiers, ghosts and beasts, painted their faces with colorful colors, setting off fireworks and driving away cattle and horses. Wei Bing was dumbfounded. He thought Zhugeliang had gods and ghosts to help him, but he did not dare to catch up. Zhugeliang easily got a lot of food and grass. Such a miraculous means of transportation could “people don’t work hard, but cattle don’t eat”. At that time, it was a brilliant idea. Therefore, a poem praised it: “the sword pass is steep, driving away wandering horses, and driving wooden cattle in rugged valleys. If you can do this in future generations, you will be worried about losing?” However, according to the current law of conservation of mass, Mu Niu and Liu Ma are similar to perpetual motion machines, which does not conform to historical laws. Therefore, many people believe that the so-called Mu Niu and Liu Ma are purely fictions of novelists.

However, according to historical records, Zhugeliang did make wooden cattle and flowing horses. According to the biography of Zhugeliang in the annals of the Three Kingdoms: “in the ninth year (231) of Jianxing, Liang returned to Qishan, transported cattle with wood, and retreated from the army with grain… In the spring of the twelfth year, he learned that the public had come out of the valley with flowing horses. According to the Wuzhang yuan of martial arts, he and Sima xuanwang faced Weinan.” Although the above-mentioned records are not as magical as those described in the romance of the Three Kingdoms, we can also see the historical fact that Zhugeliang transported grain with wooden cattle and horses. So, what kind of machinery are wooden cattle and horses? A passage from the collection of Zhugeliang, It should be reliable: “A wooden ox has a square belly, a bent head, one foot and four feet. The head is led by the middle, and the tongue is on the belly. It is suitable to use it for a large purpose, not to use it for a small purpose. A special walker can travel for tens of miles, and a group of walkers can travel for 20 miles. The curved one is the head of the ox, the double one is the foot of the ox, the horizontal one is the collar of the ox, the turning one is the foot, the covering one is the back of the ox, the square one is the belly of the ox, the hanging one is the tongue, the curved one is the assistant of the ox, the engraved one is the tooth of the ox, the upright one is the horn of the ox, the thin one is the martingale of the Six feet for a man and four steps for an ox. Carrying a year’s grain, you can travel 20 miles a day, but you don’t have to work hard. ” In this record, although the image of the wooden cow is described, and part of the dimensions of the flowing horse are also recorded below, because there are no physical objects and graphics left in future generations, people have made many guesses around the wooden cow and the flowing horse over the years.

One view is that Mu Niu and Liu Ma are ordinary wheelbarrows improved by Zhugeliang. This statement originates from historical books such as the history of Song Dynasty, Houshan congtan, and the compilation of barnyard history. It is believed that the wooden unicycle was called a deer cart in the Han Dynasty, and was improved by Zhugeliang to be called a mu Niu and a Liu ma. The name unicycle only appeared in the Northern Song Dynasty. These two kinds of unicycles are very unique. Their vehicles look like cattle and horses and have unique transportation functions. Wood cattle have a front shaft. When they are introduced, people or animals pull in front and people push behind. However, the galloping horse is similar to the wooden cow, except that it has no front shaft, so it doesn’t need to pull when moving, and only needs to be pushed by people. It is worth mentioning that during the Three Kingdoms period, Shuhan was located in the southwest corner, with limited horses, and most of them were used for cavalry operations. The transportation of grain and grass mainly depends on manpower. In this way, wooden cattle and horses came into being and played a great role. This statement is also supported by historical materials such as the relief of the unicycle on the back of the unknown Que in the Eastern Han Dynasty in pujiawan, Qu county, Sichuan Province. It is believed that these unicycles in the Eastern Han Dynasty reproduce the appearance of wooden cattle and flowing horses. However, some people have complained that the mechanical principle of four-wheel vehicles and unicycles is very simple, and there is no need to write a special book, and Zhugeliang’s skills are not so mediocre.

Another view is that Mu Niu and Liu Ma are new automatic machines. The book of the Southern Qi Dynasty, the biography of zuchong, said: “Zhugeliang had a wooden ox and a flowing horse, but he built a weapon. He did not use geomantic omen, but used his own machine to transport it without labor.” It means that Zuchongzhi built a better automatic machine on the basis of wooden cattle and horses. From this, it can be concluded that it was common to use gears to make machinery during the Three Kingdoms period. The wooden ox and flowing horse respected by later generations could not be the existing unicycle in the Han Dynasty. It is likely that it was an automatic machine that Zuchongzhi was interested in and made by using the gear principle. However, it is a pity that there is no material object left in future generations.

The third opinion is that Mu Niu and Liu Ma are four-wheel vehicles and unicycles, but the views on which is four-wheel and which is unicycle are diametrically opposite. According to volume 8 of shishijiyuan written by Gao Cheng of Song Dynasty, “the wooden ox is the one with the front shaft of the current car; the floating horse is the one with the sole push today, and the folk call it Jiangzhou car.” Fanwenlan believes that the wooden cow is a kind of human unicycle with one foot and four legs. The so-called “one foot” means a wheel, and the so-called “four feet” means that four wooden posts are installed in front of and behind the car; Liuma is an improved wooden cow, with four legs in front and back, that is, a human four-wheel vehicle. Although their size is different from that of ancient wooden cattle and horses, they work on the same principle: Wooden cattle have a large load and travel slowly, which is more suitable for running on slow roads; Liuma is a special tool for transportation in mountainous areas. It is speculated that when Zhugeliang attacked the Wei Dynasty in the north, the food and grass needed to be transported from the remote western Sichuan plain to the Qinlong region, along which there were both plains and mountains. In particular, the “Shu Road” out of Sichuan is difficult and rugged. Many plank roads along the river are cut on cliffs, which are narrow and dangerous. Some are only more than one meter wide, and can only accommodate unicycles such as “floating horses”. We can’t judge which of these two completely opposite assertions is correct.

There is also a more interesting argument, that is, whether the wooden cow and the floating horse are one thing or two. Tanliangxiao, a well-known expert on the history of the Three Kingdoms, believes that the wooden ox and the flowing horse are one thing, which is a new kind of human wooden four-wheel vehicle; Wang Yu, a senior engineer at the school of mechanical engineering of Xinjiang University, also believes that the two belong to the same thing, and has made a model with the shape of a cow and the gait of a horse. Wang Kai believes that wooden cattle and flowing horses are two kinds of things. The former is a human unicycle, and the latter is an improved four-wheel vehicle. Chencongzhou, a landscape architecture expert from Tongji University, investigated the remains of the existing ancient plank road in Guangyuan area of northern Sichuan, mastered the data of width, slope and load-bearing, and believed that the two were two things: the wooden ox had a front shaft, when it was introduced, someone or livestock pulled in front, and someone pushed behind; The galloping horse is roughly the same as the wooden cow, but it has no front shaft and does not need to be pulled by people. It moves only by pushing. It looks like a horse.

There are many of the above views, but it is still difficult to judge which one is the most consistent with the original appearance of Mu Niu Liu ma. Recently, Ligang, an expert in the restoration of cultural relics in Sichuan Museum, restored more than 3000 pieces of broken pottery into a complete three wheeled carriage, which was dated between the Eastern Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms. He thought it was the legendary wooden ox and horse of Zhuge Kongming in history. This car is a burial object, only one third of the size of the real object. The height of the carriage is 1m, and the total length is m. The car has many advantages. First of all, the general carriage has only two wheels. In this way, the horse not only has to pull the carriage, but also bears the weight of the body; The appearance of the tricycle reduced the load-bearing burden of the horse, increased the stability of the carriage, made its traction greater, and thus transported more and heavier goods. Secondly, the body of the traditional two wheeled carriage is connected with the horse by the “Yuan”. The length of the “Yuan” determines that the carriage has a large turning radius and is not suitable for walking on narrow mountain roads; The tricycle has a “steering gear” between the front wheel and the rear carriage, which is suitable for turning on narrow mountain roads. However, Ligang could not explain clearly that “people don’t work hard and cattle don’t eat”. If Zhugeliang had known, he would have regretted that he had not left a detailed production diagram.

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