Biography (SGYY): Han Xuan

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Han Xuan
(AD 151–210)

Sanguo yanyi Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
Authored by ZhaoZilong

Han Xuan

Positions: Jing (under Liu Biao), and later independent ruler
Appointments: Imperial Governor of Changsha (1), Ruler of Changsha
1: Although Han Xuan was not given an Imperial Edict as governor of Changsha, Liu Biao himself held all the seals for Jingzhou, and had the authority to hand them out accordingly.

Han Xuan was a native of Changsha, and was known for having no regard to auspicious events. Thus, whenever an auspicious event or omen occurred, Han Xuan did not attend, nor did he make a sacrifice to the lord. Rather, he kept an arrogant attitude, and went about living normally. This put him in distaste (2) with the people of Changsha, and his unpopularity soon spread through South Jing (3), and even reached Xinye and Xiakou.

2: According to Sanguo yanyi, he was universally hated, and of hasty temperament with small compunction in matters of life and death.
3: South Jing: The four cities below the Great River: Changsha, Guiyang, Lingling, and Wuling.

However, when Liu Biao, Imperial Protector of Jingzhou, looked to expand his territory from Xiangyang, Jiangling, Jiangxia, Xinye, and Xiakou, he lacked able men whom he could give these positions to. So, he sent messengers through the region, and met Han Xuan, whom he gave Governorship of Changsha (4).

4: It is said that Liu Biao became desperate looking for somebody to govern the city, and accepted the first to come to him, i.e. Han Xuan.

Han Xuan attained this appointment for three years, until Liu Biao suddenly fell ill, and died, dividing the northern area of Jingzhou between to rulers: Liu Qi (5), older son of Liu Biao, whom, due to his illness, was aided by Liu Biao’s younger brother, Liu Bei (6); and Liu Zong (7), second son of Liu Biao, aided by Cai Mao and Zhang Yun.

5: Also spelt “Liu Gui”.
6: Liu Bei later took authority over Jingzhou after the untimely death of Liu Qi.
7: Also spelt “Liu Cong”.

At this point, three of the four governors of South Jing (Zhao Fan of Guiyang, Jin Xuan of Wuling, and Han Xuan), remained neutral, whilst Liu Du of Lingling sided with his relative Liu Zong (8). Soon, however, the situation worsened, as Cao Cao defeated Liu Bei, and sent him fleeing to Sun Quan in Xiakou, and forced Liu Zong to yield. Soon, Han Xuan had no choice but to declare independence. Thus, he made himself ruler of Changsha, as did the other four South Jing governors.

8: Liu Du, however, immediately cut off all ties with Liu Zong when Cao Cao attacked.

Thus, Han Xuan attained independent Governorship of Changsha, which he held in peace for two years. During this time, he gained the famous and skilled veteran general Huang Zhong of Nanyang, who had been a colleague of Liu Biao’s nephew, Liu Pan, but left after Liu Biao’s death. Another skilled general, by the name of Wei Yan of Yiyang, cameto Han Xuan. Wei Yan had met Liu Bei and Xiangyang with the intention of joining him, but, halted by Wen Pin (9), he was forced to now come here. However, Han Xuan gave Wei Yan no office, due to Wei Yan’s arrogance, and lack of polish (10).

9: Also spelt “Wen Ping”.
10: When he was ignored and not given a post, Wei Yan started to rally villagers of Changsha in rebellion against Han Xuan, and struck when the opportunity was good. Han Xuan, however, didn’t see this until it was too late.

After the great clash at Chibi, Liu Bei began to retake the Jing cities, save Xiangyang and Xinye, which Cao Cao managed to salvage, and Xiakou, belonging to Sun Quan after the defeat of Huang Zu (11). Soon, Liu Bei turned south. He managed to capture Lingling first, and used Zhao Yun to force Guiyang to yield, and Zhang Fei to force Wuling to follow suit.

11: Also spelt “Huang Zhu”.

When Guan Yu came, Han Xuan sent out Huang Zhong, who fought with Guan Yu in a duel. However, Han Xuan relied primarily on Huang Zhong, and, fearing that he may be defeated, called the battle off. The next day, the battle continued again, but soon, Huang Zhong’s horse collapsed. Guan Yu showed him kindness by called the battle off that day, so they continued the next.

That night, Han Xuan gave a new horse to Huang Zhong, and advised that he use his archery to master the enemy. Huang Zhong, however, could not forget the kindness he’d beenshown, and, the next day, only struck the enemy’s helmet, as a warning.

This angered Han Xuan, who now thought that Huang Zhong was secretly allied with Guan Yu. So, he put him forth for death. However, before the blow could fall, Wei Yan, who heard of what was happening, rallied the people of Changsha, and rebelled against Han Xuan. He rescued Huang Zhong, and then beheaded Han Xuan, before yielding to Guan Yu. At the time of his death, Han Xuan was 59. Huang Zhong, who yielded to Liu Bei, later buried him.

Copyright © 2003 ZhaoZilong
Based on the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, attributed to Luo Guanzhong