The 10 Greatest Chinese Horses
Pictures of all the horses can be seen here . Listing over there is in reverse order to this submission here
No. 10: The Yellow-hoofed Flying Thunder (Zhao Huang Fei Dian)
As its name indicates, it has four yellow hoofs but its body is white throughout. It is a very tall, powerful, dignified, elegant and yet arrogant mount. It is the preferred mount of the villainous warlord Cao Cao (the closest pronunciation is Chow Chow) whenever he returned in triumph after a battle.
No. 9: Stolen Pure Black (Dao Li)
One of the eight legendary horses used to pull the carriage of Zhou Mu Wang (a warlord of ancient times), it was said to light black all throughout and with a slender neck. It was said to be a very strong and fast horse with a great temper that makes it hard to tame.
No. 8: De Le Biao
Its fur is a yellowish colour with white showing through with its mouth being of a light black colour. It was ridden by Li Shi Ming, second emperor of the Tang dynasty when he recovered a part of the land in the modern Shan Xi province. It is put in the first place of honour among one of the burial places of the Emperors of the Tang dynasty.
No. 7: The Jade Lion that Shines in the Night (Zhao Ye Yu Shi Zi)
It is white throughout, with nary a hair of a different colour. It was said that this horse was of a foreign breed and could travel a thousand Chinese miles in a day (about 300 km- 550 km depending on the dynasty of reference). It originally appeared in the Water Margin (one of the 4 classics in Chinese literature about a bunch of righteous outlaws/grass-root rebel heroes) driving a section of the plot and has since been said to be the mount of a number of people such as Zhao Yu of the Three Kingdom era (his signature image is a rider on a white horse wielding a silver spear).
No. 6: The Yellow Horse Speckled with White (Huang Biao Ma)
As its name indicates, this horse has white spots on its yellow hide which are concentrated around its belly and its ribs. Its mane contains tufts of white hair that are shaped like a full moon. Consequently, it also has the nickname of 'the Jade-headed Dry-straw Yellow of Xi Liang' (Xi Liang is a place). In addition, this horse's ribcage will always be visible no matter how much it is fed, earning it the nickname of 'the Dragon with Protruding Bones'. It is reputedly the mount of a famous general in the early days of the Tang dynasty who is called Qin Chong.
No. 5: Shadowless (Jue Ying)
The mount of Cao Cao of the Period of the Three Kingdoms in ancient China (starting from the ending days of the Han Dynasty). From its name, it is clear that it runs so fast that its shadow won't be able to keep up. It was recorded in The Book of Wei (a historical record) that Shadowless was hit by a volley of arrows on its cheek and legs (presumably to its death) and in the same battle Cao Cao was injured on his right arm.
No. 4: Melancholy Dew Purple (Sa Lu Zi)
The mount of Li Shi Ming (second Emperor of the Tang Dynasty) when he vanquished Wang Shi Chong of the Luo Yang province on his Eastern campaign. It was killed by an arrow in its chest and is in the first place of honour on the place dedicated to mounts within the Emperor's tomb.
No. 3: Black Piebald (Wu Zhui)
The mount of Conqueror Xiang (major competitor to founder of the Han dynasty, also his sworn brother). It is a horse whose body is purely black and shiny (like a bolt of black silk) and has four hooves as white as snow. For this reason, it is called the Black Piebald who Trod on Snow (Ta Xue Wu Zhui). It has a long and smooth back and short hips and strong limbs. In the legends, after Conqueror Xiang slayed himself with a sword alongside the Black River (Wu Jiang), this horse followed on the footsteps of his owner by jumping into the river.
No. 2: Di Lu
The mount of Liu Bei of the Period of the Three Kingdoms, it was famous of having borne its owner across a mountain stream spanning several Chinese miles called Tan Xi and thus helping him to shake off the opposing army chasing him. It was not the most famous horse of its era but was still one of the more renowned ones. In particular, its popularity was greatly heightened as it appeared in the work of Xin Qi Ji, a famous poet of the Southern Song dynasty.
No. 1: The Red Rabbit (Chi Tu)
Its original name has the same sound (and the second character is almost identical except for having an additional part to it) but actually means 'a ferocious red horse like a tiger'. It was reputedly of the breed of 'Han Xue Bao Ma' or Blood-coloured Sweat Horses which is a breed of horses imported by the Chinese whose sweat is blood-coloured. It has become a term used to describe a really good horse as in the saying 'Chi Tu among horses, Lu Bu among men' (Lu Bu happened to be one of its owners who was reputedly the greatest warrior of his time). It lived in the same era of Di Lu and was the most famous horse of its era and possibly ever afterwards till now. It was reputedly first the mount of Dong Zhuo and was given to Lu Bu as a bribe to win him over. After Lu Bu's death, it was given to Guan Yu by Cao Cao (who killed Lu Bu) to try to win him over from Liu Bei (who was Guan Yu's elder sworn brother). After Guan Yu was slayed, it was said that Chi Tu missed him so much that it refused to eat anymore and died.
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? Responses (6)
Hi Moon, withholding my vote for now because I don't think this sub is finished. I liked the names and the historical context, but these horses just need . . . more somehow. Some of the horses don't feel like they are fleshed out enough to stand on their own -- 10 through 8, and 4, in particular.
I know it would be a departure from the historical, but perhaps you could embellish on the story a bit to give each horse something that could be applied in-game. Even just notes on personality for each mount would help (I know you give this already for several of these). Another possibility would be to make this a stub.
I tend to agree with Dossta here. I really enjoyed the Chinese Lifeforms set of subs because at least the little information offered on those creatures was bizarre, exotic, and tickled the imagination. This here seems to be a listing of interchangeable horses with fancy names and nothing else. Even the link to the pics doesn't help, since they seem to be just random pics and photos of horses.
Hmmm.... to be honest, this thing with embellishing these 'translation exercises' or lack of embellishing by me has always been there and it's always hanging in the back of my mind. But somehow I haven't ever found inspiration to embellish on any of these Chinese subs and also my original intention was just to have these as an inspiration source for the Strolenati. In fact, some Strolenati had done some embellishing for me already. Aramax had done some of it via user-submitted ideas and Muro did some in his Din-bak's Bestiary but yeah.... I need to think about this aspect some more. But you two know that I write by whims.
Update: All right, I've decided that I'm just gonna slap the Incomplete freetext on it for the moment and then insert a 'scroll' on embellishments
That's a good compromise between faithfulness to the source material and the need for more detail. Good call.
Even as a listing of legendary horse names its interesting.