The Heavenly Horse "Tian Ma" 天马
Posted 17 August 2004 - 12:36 AM
Han Wudi got to know about this heavenly horse through Zhang Qian's (the chinese explorer) about accounts of Ferghana (大宛国). This horse is strong muscularly and can gallop thousands of miles effortlessly. I think, this Ferghana is somehow related to Yuezhi, and this country was just situated north of the Tarim basin (in today's Uzbekistan) (anyone who know the history of Yuezhi please tell me more about this).
Wudi sent a group of envoys to Ershi (貳師) in Ferghana in the mission of gaining a number of these celestial horses. The envoys offered a thousand pieces of gold and a golden horse in exchange for some of these horses. However the King of Ferghana smashed the gold pieces, murdered the Han envoys, and ordered them stripped. When news of this reached Wudi, he was furious and decided to take the horses by force. He appointed Li Guangli (李广利), a famous general at that time, to seize the horses by force. A military expedition to Ferghana was routed by the kingdom, but Wudi was determined. He ordered a second attack against Ferghana consisting of over a hundred thousand men. This time Ferghana was defeated and under the surrender terms of a treaty, an annual tribute of 3,000 heavenly horses was presented to the Han empire.
These heavenly horses were instrumental in transforming the Han cavalry and were very effective in weakening the Xiongnu. It is said that Alexander the Great's horse, Bucephalus, bore similar resemblance to these horses. However how did Tianma get to Ferghana in the first place? Were they natives of the region or did they originate possibly from Africa?
"夫君子之行：靜以修身，儉以養德；非淡泊無以明志，非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮
One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang
Posted 17 August 2004 - 04:30 AM
Posted 18 August 2004 - 01:34 AM
Posted 18 August 2004 - 02:04 AM
Read this site (already mentioned in an earlier thread on famous horses) for one current theory about the blood-sweating part.
The Heavenly Horses of Ferghana are not fictional, since they are recorded in history. The Chi Tu (Red Hare) of Lu Bu is not fictional either, because it is mentioned in the Sanguo Zhi. But there is no evidence to suggest that the Chi Tu was one of the blood-sweating Ferghana horses.
BTW, there is a red horse ridden by Guo Jing in the Jin Yong novel Shediao Yingxiong Zhuan (Condor-Shooting Heroes) that is supposed to be a blood-sweating Ferghana horse. One example of how Jin Yong likes to use various historical motifs in his fiction.
Posted 18 August 2004 - 02:20 AM
Posted 18 August 2004 - 07:03 AM
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