Posted by Imperial Harvest on 03 February 2023
Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins
Of the vast multitude of legendary figures in ancient Chinese history, Guan Gong (关公) without a doubt ranks among the most recognisable. During his time on earth, he was known as Guan Yu (关羽), taking on the role of a commander under the renowned warlord Liu Bei (刘备) of the Eastern Han dynasty. Guan Yu enjoyed a close relationship with Liu Bei, and was often seen fighting alongside him in the tumultuous years of conflict between different factions. He was a significant figure in China’s famed Three Kingdoms period, integral to Liu Bei’s establishment of the Shu Han state through his heroic exploits on the battlefield.
As a decorated military general who led scores of troops to victory after victory, Guan Yu commanded great respect and admiration from his subjects. It, thus, comes as no surprise that he was eventually deified by the supreme Jade Emperor. Since then, he has attracted a loyal following among Buddhists, Taoists as well as adherents of Chinese folk religions, in which he remains a prominent figure. Known henceforth as Guan Gong, or Lord Guan, he is commonly worshipped until this day as a direct wealth god, or one that governs the accumulation of wealth through one’s primary occupation. Specifically, Guan Gong has carved out a niche as Business Wealth God, bestowing upon both established and aspiring entrepreneurs an unceasing influx of lucrative leads and sales.
Over the years, Guan Gong has also come to be seen as a benevolent figure of great empathy. Benevolence (仁) in this context is often perceived by Guan Gong’s followers as actively relating closely to the struggles and concerns of others, and extending support wherever and whenever possible. While such a quality may not be immediately apparent in as fearsome a warrior as Guan Yu, historical accounts do feature his benevolence amidst his acclaimed military feats.
The history behind Guan Gong
One of the most commonly retold stories in ancient Chinese folklore is set along the Huarong trail, in present day Jingzhou. It was along this route that rival northern warlord Cao Cao (曹操) was fleeing following his resounding defeat in the Battle of Red Cliffs (赤壁之战). Cao Cao’s troops, consisting largely of ground infantry forces and horse-mounted troops, were ill-equipped for the naval battle that had broken out along the northern banks of the Yangtze River. Their disadvantage was compounded by a false surrender by the southern allied forces of warlords Sun Quan, Liu Bei and Liu Qi. Having let their guard down, Cao Cao and his troops were caught off-guard when the southern forces launched a covert counterattack with flaming ships loaded with combustible material. This masterstroke by the southern allies culminated in a swift and decisive victory, and Cao Cao was forced to flee.
As part of the southern military alliance, Guan Yu was tasked to keep a lookout for Cao Cao as he made his way down the Huarong trail — the most direct path of retreat from the resounding defeat in the Yangtze. Before long, Cao Cao and his men duly arrived as anticipated, and were intercepted by Guan Yu. As instructed, Guan Yu began questioning and rounding up Cao Cao and his troops, in preparation for their capture.
As conversations between the two leaders progressed, however, the past dealings between them weighed heavily on Guan Yu’s mind. His thoughts wandered to the time he had spent previously as part of Cao Cao’s military, when Cao Cao launched a mission to capture Xu Province. It was a messy and drawn-out conflict, with both sides making errors through miscalculations and poor coordination.
In the ensuing chaos, Guan Yu was captured by Cao Cao, who had long admired his bravery, commitment and military prowess. Seeing Guan Yu as a valuable asset, Cao Cao seized the opportunity to coax him over to his side. In a bid to win his fealty, he showered Guan Yu with gifts and favours, regarding him with great esteem and even installing him as a high-ranking general. Flattered by the reverence accorded by Cao Cao, Guan Yu agreed to join forces with Cao Cao for the time being. However, the unshakeable relationship he had forged with Liu Bei remained foremost on his mind, and he pledged to one day reunite with the vanquished warlord, whose whereabouts were unknown since his defeat.
After leaving Cao Cao’s fold and returning to Liu Bei’s army, memories of the brief, but mutually respectful camaraderie he shared with Cao Cao came flooding back to Guan Yu. As the two men stood before each other on the Huarong trail, Guan Yu was deeply troubled by the circumstances that had cruelly pitted him against his former benefactor and mentor. As they rekindled their old bond, they momentarily set aside their prevailing differences, and Guan Yu’s inherent benevolence of character emerged from the depths of the raging conflict. In recognition of the reverence Cao Cao had accorded him, Guan Yu made the astonishing decision to allow Cao Cao and his troops to proceed unscathed, paving the way for their safe passage.
For Guan Yu, the importance of honouring the established bonds of kinship superseded the political hostilities he found himself embroiled in, as well as his military obligations to eliminate or capture enemy forces. In a heartfelt display of his deep-seated benevolence, he chose to put aside the stifling conflict of war, instead prioritising an irreplaceable human connection that had been forged years ago.
Imperial Harvest’s reimagined Business God of Wealth
Today, as the Business Wealth God Guan Gong, Guan Yu continues to live out the benevolence displayed in his show of pure humanity. In many ways, extending benevolence to others entails empathising with their needs and desires, as contextualised to their unique circumstances. Demonstrating empathy often requires one to consider the interests of others by putting oneself in their shoes, and pursuing these interests out of love or compassion for the beneficiaries. Indeed, for Guan Gong’s adherents, his boundless blessings are borne of an unbridled spirit of selflessness, as he gives freely to all who seek him out.
Being a veritable embodiment of benevolence, Guan Gong is held in great esteem by his legion of followers, many of whom flock to him for guidance and blessings in their business pursuits. As budding and seasoned entrepreneurs alike can attest, doing business in today’s modern world is akin to war (商场如战场). Equipped with the considerable military pedigree of Guan Yu, Business Wealth God Guan Gong is well-versed in the decisiveness and shrewdness required to excel in both forms of battle.
In an ode to Guan Gong’s timeless savviness, tempered with compassionate benevolence, Imperial Harvest presents the all-new Fine Jadeite Guan Gong pendant — refreshed with a bold new outlook that befits the enduring qualities of this revered deity.
Positioned firmly in the centre of the fine jadeite treasure, Guan Gong’s Green Dragon Sabre (青龙偃月刀) immediately draws the eye and captures the heart. Going down in history as the heaviest weapon wielded by a military general in the ancient Chinese era, its heft is indicative of the sheer robustness with which Guan Gong approaches challenges — physical or otherwise. On the battlefield in the hands of Guan Yu, it enabled him to cast aside opponents with crushing force; in Guan Gong’s business fiefdom, it confers upon his adherents unparalleled foresight, empowering them to eliminate malefactors and achieve the lofty heights others can only dream about.
Proudly wielded by Guan Gong, the victory flag boasts his triumphs in battle and emphasises his renowned military expertise. As a paradigm of loyalty and benevolence, Guan Gong leads his adherents with the same effectiveness once afforded in his military career. With the victory flag in tow, Guan Gong empowers his adherents, equipping them with the skills and determination to overcome and triumph over their adversities.
Every refresh of an Imperial Harvest treasure heralds a new dawn in the legacy of its namesake. With the all-new Imperial Harvest Fine Jadeite Guan Gong, the blessed wearer partakes in a celebration — not only of Guan Gong’s renowned prowess on the battlefield, but also of his empathetic disposition that emerges when called upon.
This new year, speak to an Imperial Harvest consultant on how you can leverage Guan Gong’s legendary prestige to achieve extraordinary sales and close the deals of your dreams.
Read about the Imperial Harvest’s reimagined Five Wealth Gods Collection here
Imperial Harvest’s expert consultants are always on hand to guide you on your journey, and provide you with insights to help you realise your fullest potential. Book a complimentary consultation today or contact us at +65 91221826.
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