Guan Yu was a renowned general serving the warlord Liu Bei in the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD). Having achieved many victories such as killing general Yan Liang under Yuan Shao’s leadership in Baimapo (White Horse Slope), although once caught alive by another warlord Cao Cao, Guan Yu was known for his heroic behaviors, and had been regarded as “conqueror of ten-thousand soldiers” together with Zhang Fei. He was also listed as the No. 1 among the five most courageous generals “五虎上将” of the State of Shu in the Chinese literary classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三国演义).
Guan Yu was deified after his death, worshipped as Lord Guan or Lord of Beautiful Beards by people of later generations, and received many posthumous honors from emperors of later generations. In the Qing dynasty (1644-1912 AD) for instance, Guan Yu was honored as Saintly Emperor Guan Yu with Loyalty and Courage, and the Saint of War, enjoying equivalent reverence as Confucius, the Saint of Culture.