Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

The Heavenly Horse "Tian Ma" 天马


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 General_Zhaoyun

General_Zhaoyun

    Grand Valiant General of Imperial Han Army

  • Owner
  • 12,281 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore (Taiwanese/Singapore Permanent Resident)
  • Interests:Chinese History, Chinese Philosophy and Religion, Chinese languages, Minnan/Taiwanese language, Classical Chinese, General Chinese Culture
  • Languages spoken:Mandarin, Taiwanese (Hokkien), English, German, Singlish
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese (Taiwanese Hoklo)
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    General Chinese Culture
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Language, History and Culture

Posted 17 August 2004 - 12:36 AM

Recently I was reading an article on this "Tian ma" 天马 (heavenly horse), in which Emperor Wu of Han (Han Wudi) used force against Yuezhi (大月氏) to obtain (during Western han period). Han Wudi was supposingly quite superstitious in that he believed that this horse could send him to the heaven. However, his primary aim of getting this horse is to help reform the Han cavalry so that he can continue successfully the campaign against the Xiongnu.

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?
Posted ImagePosted Image

"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

#2 Ghost_of_Han

Ghost_of_Han

    Grand Mentor (Taishi 太师)

  • Master Scholar (Juren)
  • 439 posts
  • Location:Michigan
  • Interests:Chinese History, and Chinese
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History

Posted 17 August 2004 - 04:30 AM

I know where you got this idea from, I have read the articile on it too. Its a very good post if I do say so. I was trying to register the that site and was unable could you help me later on? also the have a wonder post about a ritual the Enuchs par take in, that one would be good content for the enunch thread.

#3 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 18 August 2004 - 01:34 AM

For a good account and analysis of the Heavenly Horses, including theories of where these horses came from (including the one that they were hybrids between dragons and horses), read Chapter 4 of this book on the Silk Road by Luce Boulnois. It was originally written in French in 2001, and the paperback English translation is just out (I bought it this morning).
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#4 Guest_Tyler_*

Guest_Tyler_*
  • Guest

Posted 18 August 2004 - 01:40 AM

Such horses sound fictional much like Red Hare....

#5 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 18 August 2004 - 02:04 AM

http://www.china-hor...pin_shiliao.htm

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.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#6 Guest_Tyler_*

Guest_Tyler_*
  • Guest

Posted 18 August 2004 - 02:20 AM

Yun, Red Hare was a war horse. It takes time to train a war horse and I'm sure Lu Bu did not recieve Red Hare as a pony :lol: . Then Cao Cao gave Red Hare to Guan Yu it was with Guan Yu you for his entire life time and there are no records of Red Hare showing signs of age during Guan Yu's later days. Tell me how is that possible for a horse we're looking at a good 60+ years without signs of weakening from age.

#7 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 18 August 2004 - 07:03 AM

Simple - according to actual history (the Sanguo Zhi), Cao Cao never gave Chi Tu to Guan Yu. Chi Tu is only mentioned once, in relation with Lu Bu, but never again.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#8 Guest_Tyler_*

Guest_Tyler_*
  • Guest

Posted 18 August 2004 - 02:09 PM

Are you sure, *looks over some notes on Sanguo Zhi*.




3 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 3 guests, 0 anonymous users