Zhuge Liang (Kong Ming) – The Crouching Dragon

May 5th, 2011 | By | Category: Bonsai Figurines, Featured Articles
Kong Ming Bonsai Figurine

Zhuge Liang figurine in Happy Bonsai Shop

From time to time, I receive emails from customers asking me for more details about the few figurines of significant Chinese historical characters that are now selling in Happy Bonsai Shop. Some of these figurines are the most popular characters in Chinese history. And today, I would like to introduce one of my favorite Chinese historical character – Zhuge Liang (諸葛亮).

If you play video games, I bet you know him already. Zhuge Liang’s reputation for being an unparalleled genius is fully emphasized in his role in video games (usually his intelligence power is highest among all characters). Or if you have been in China before, you may have come across statues of a man wearing a robe and holding a hand fan made of crane feathers. Yes, that’s Zhuge Liang.

Zhuge Liang Kong Ming Figurine

Zhuge Liang in a video game

Zhuge Liang Kong Ming Figurine

Statue of Zhuge Liang


Zhuge Liang, also known as Kong Ming (孔明), was a chancellor (Chinese: 丞相) of Shu Han Kingdom during China’s turbulent era of Three Kingdoms (220 -280).  He is often recognized as the greatest and most accomplished strategist in Chinese history. Zhuge Liang was also known as a contemporary of Guan Yu, the patron saint of martial arts.

Through researching and self-taught, Zhuge Liang was not only a master in astronomy and geography, but also an expert in military strategy and tactics. In his early year, Zhuge Liang lived in a thatched cottage, working as a farmer while studying (Zhuge Liang’s living in relative aloofness and others’ underestimation of his intelligence are probably how Zhuge Liang earned his nickname – “Crouching Dragon” (臥龍)).

Zhuge Liang Kong Ming Figurine

Zhuge Liang in the movie - The Battle of Red Cliff

Zhuge Liang Kong Ming Figurine

A painting of Zhuge Liang

Legend states that Liu Bei (劉備), then a descendent of the royal Han house, heard of Zhuge Liang’s great wisdom and went three times to Zhuge Liang’s little cottage, inviting Zhuge Liang to be his military advisor. Zhuge Liang was touched by Liu Bei’s sincerity. Zhuge Liang then shared his plan of reunifying the whole nation. Liu Bei was enlightened and pleased, adopted Zhuge Liang’s plan – setting up his kingdom in the west and allying with the state of Wu in the East. From then on, Zhuge Liang (by then 26 years old) helped Liu Bei to reunify the nation and establish the Han Dynasty.

Zhuge Liang assisted Liu Bei through many difficult situations, and his wisdom and achievement were popularized by the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義) written in the Ming Dynasty.

7 Comments to “Zhuge Liang (Kong Ming) – The Crouching Dragon”

  1. Matthiew Quinn says:

    Thank you very much … it’s very nice of you to share this history with everyone.

    Xie xie

    Matthiew of Montreal

  2. Sandy Sandy says:

    Thanks Matthiew. Happy that you enjoy the post 🙂

  3. Hae says:

    Thanks for this article on one of my favorite Chinese historical figures!

  4. Sandy Sandy says:

    He is one of my favorites too! 🙂

  5. Greta says:

    You got it right in the article, but not in the title. Zhuge Liang is the “Crouching Dragon”, not “Crouching Tiger”. 🙂

  6. Sandy Sandy says:

    Hi Greta, you are right. I had it right in my post, but somehow I missed the big title. Thank you for correcting.

  7. Kerry says:

    I always saw it translated as the ‘Sleeping Dragon’

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