Encyclopedia: Cao Shen

Cao Shen; Ts‘ao Shên (Ching-pa); 曹参

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You are viewing the profile of Cao Shen (曹参). “Prime Minister under Liu Bang. Claimed ancestor of Cao Cao.” Cao Shen was affiliated with and the Western Han Dynasty. Return to the Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia to learn more or explore our Encyclopedia Directory to browse by kingdom or category.


Cao Shen 曹参

Lived: ?–190 BC

None Available

Served: Western Han, Historical

Prime Minister under Liu Bang. Claimed ancestor of Cao Cao.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Ts‘ao Shên (Ching-pa)
Simplified Chinese: 曹参

Other Names: Cao Can

Name Notes: Sometimes Romanized ‘Cao Can’.

Family and Relationships

Cao Cao (Descendant)

Literary Appearances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: 43, 73, 105


Historic (Unverified)

Cao Shen was a Prime Minister during the Han Dynasty. He was influenced by the “Huang-Lao” school that used a mix of persuasion and coercion. (1) He largely continued the work of Xiao He. (2)Sima Qian implied he often got drunk and tended to cover-up for his underlings. (3)

1: Autocratic Tradition and Chinese Politics By Zhengyuan Fu, pp. 49

2: Social Power and Legal Culture: Litigation Masters in Late Imperial China By Melissa Ann Macauley, pp. 350

3: Records of the Grand Historian By Sima Qian, pp. 363–368



Novel and History

Officers and Kingdoms

Literature and Language


April 10, 2023