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Yellow Turban rebels


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#1 MagistrateDee

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 01:06 AM

I am in the process of making some wargame armies of the Three Kingdoms states. I would also like to represent the Yellow Turban rebels as an element in my games. How would they have dressed? I mean obviously there were a lot of them in civilian clothing but were there any more organized units that would have armour? I take it that their weapons would be pretty much the same as everyone else's but would they have access to crossbows and bombards? Was the "Yellow Turban" a hat? Is there any information on banners they might of had? On that subject is there a source for banners for the armies of the Three Kingdoms, as well? Thank you for any help in advance!! All help is deeply appreciated!
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#2 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 02:14 AM

The Yellow Turban rebels basically wore Yellow Scarves/Turban.

Here is a picture of Yellow Turban Rebels
Posted Image

You can also refer to the Yellow Scarves at
http://www.chinahist...showtopic=25693
http://www.chinahist...showtopic=25254
Posted ImagePosted Image

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#3 Yun

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 01:42 PM

I mean obviously there were a lot of them in civilian clothing but were there any more organized units that would have armour? I take it that their weapons would be pretty much the same as everyone else's but would they have access to crossbows and bombards?


Unfortunately, hardly anything is known about the equipment and weapons of the Yellow Turban rebels, because the official sources simply do not record such information. They would probably only have crossbows that they captured from government arsenals or took from dead or surrendered soldiers, since crossbows take considerable expertise to make and the skilled artisans tended to be monopolized by the government. If by bombards you mean mini-cannons, then they certainly did not have these because they were not invented until the 13th or 14th century.

Was the "Yellow Turban" a hat?


It was a piece of yellow cloth tied around the top of the head - this was the standard headdress of commoners in early the Qin and Han empires, but the colour was usually something dull like blue or black.

Is there any information on banners they might of had? On that subject is there a source for banners for the armies of the Three Kingdoms, as well?


There are no reliable sources for Yellow Turban or Three Kingdoms banners. Many depictions show soldiers carrying banners that bear the name of the ruling dynasty (e.g. Han or Wei) or the family name of their commander (e.g. Zhang or Cao), but this is speculative and is not mentioned in the sources. Another common motif seen in depictions of the banners from the Han to Three Kingdoms period is mythical animals like the dragon or fierce animals like the tiger. This, too, is speculative although there are known examples of it from later periods.

For an example of such depictions:
Posted Image
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#4 MagistrateDee

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 01:46 AM

I'm a bit confused about the bombards, then. I read about them all the time in the Book RTK. It usually mentions the bombards being used to signal an attack. Is this just license with the time frame on the bombards? It mentions them quite profusely throughout the book. Can someone enlighten me on this quandary? Thank you all for your help!!

Edited by MagistrateDee, 19 November 2008 - 01:48 AM.


#5 Yun

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 02:36 AM

Yes, in the RTK novel the term 炮響 is often used, and it seems that some English translations render this as "bombard sound" or "bombard shot". In fact, the novel is referring to the use of firecrackers to signal an attack, which was common in Ming and Qing dynasty times (when the novel was written) but totally out of place in the Han and Three Kingdoms, when gunpowder hadn't been invented yet.

The translation of 炮 as 'bombard' is probably due to the fact that 炮 can mean either 'cannon' or 'firecracker', and the translator didn't know which is right.
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#6 ZWD

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 02:53 AM

I've always imagined them wearing peasant outfits with yellow head-bands, poorly armed and equipped but massive in numbers.

#7 Zantam03

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 06:03 AM

I once read that they wore a piece of yellow cloth, usually a bandana, scarf or blanket wrapped around their hand. This piece of yellow cloth was their badge so they would recognise each other during battle. Because of those yellow badges, the people of that time called them Yellow Turban rebels. This name was not made up by Zhang Jiao or his brothers.

I also read they were poorly equipped and just used whatever they had near them as a weapon; the Turbans consisted mainly of farmers so I guess they were equipped with pitchforks, shovels, rakes, etc.
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#8 NeoDragonKnight

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 09:48 PM

I once read that they wore a piece of yellow cloth, usually a bandana, scarf or blanket wrapped around their hand. This piece of yellow cloth was their badge so they would recognise each other during battle. Because of those yellow badges, the people of that time called them Yellow Turban rebels. This name was not made up by Zhang Jiao or his brothers.

I also read they were poorly equipped and just used whatever they had near them as a weapon; the Turbans consisted mainly of farmers so I guess they were equipped with pitchforks, shovels, rakes, etc.


Since theres no sources for determining this, your best bet is to just use logic and come up with what they most likely would have worn. They are a rebel and civilian army so simple robes and simple weapons, even farmers tools might have been the norm. As they killed soldiers they would have most likely have stripped them of their equipment and use them for themselves. IMO it would have been a hodge podge of equipment with no real set look.




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