Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by
Place of Birth: Yangzhai, Yingchuan Commandery (Presently Yu County in Henan Province)
Lifespan: AD 170 – 208 (38 Years)
Titles: Minister of Rites and Religion, Faithful Lord
Family: Guo Yi (son)
In the beginning of his civil career, Guo Jia served Yuan Shao as administrator. After both Cheng Yu and Xun Yu joined Lord Cao’s army, Xun Yu recommended that Guo Jia work for Lord Cao as well. Fengxiao was appointed as assistant to the Minister of Public Works. Guo Jia advised Lord Cao to be kind to Liu Bei and lull him into a false sense of security.
Fengxiao always assisted Lord Cao when making strategies and his wisdom was always profound. After Lord Cao rescued the Emperor Xian from Li Jue and Guo Si, Guo Jia was appointed as Minister of Rites and Religion. Fengxiao’s strategies aided Lord Cao greatly when the latter was fighting Lü Bu and during the fight for control of He Bei.
At one time, when Lord Cao was talking with Mi Heng, the latter made fun of his ability and said, “Guo Jia is merely a remitter of poems.” Guo Jia was an excellent judge of character, and Lord Cao admired Fengxiao’s insight. (1) Not everyone was pleased with Fengxiao’s insight; when Sun Ce heard how Guo Jia had described him, the latter grew enraged and vowed to take Xu Chang, only to be restrained by his advisors.
After the death of Yuan Shao, Guo Jia advised Lord Cao to let the Yuan brothers fight amongst themselves while concentrating on Jing Zhou. Surely enough, Guo Jia’s predictions came true and the Yuan brothers warred among themselves. For this, Guo Jia was titled Lord of Weiyang Precinct. The two youngest, Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang, fled into the northern deserts. Cao Hong proposed that Lord Cao concentrate on Jing Zhou, but Fengxiao once again offers different advice. Instead of going after Liu Biao, Lord Cao took Guo Jia with him into the desert to the north.
During their trip, Fengxiao fell victim to the unbearable heat and soon grew ill. Though he was ill, Guo Jia urged Lord Cao to continue the journey and was left at Yezhou for treatment.
However, when Lord Cao returned from the expedition, Guo Jia had already passed away. Lord Cao was torn up with grief and wept freely. Lord Cao personally held a grand ceremony to honor Fengxiao. His coffin was sent to Xu Chang where it was properly buried. Guo Jia was posthumously titled Faithful Lord.
(1) SGYY Chapter 24, after advising Lord Cao to attack Liu Bei instead of Yuan Shao, Lord Cao responded, “This advice is in harmony with my thinking.” On another occasion Lord Cao exclaimed, “Only Fengxiao knows my thoughts.” <return>
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Major Sources: Beifangshi - Han/Ming Professor E.Lin (1982 Beijing)