Encyclopedia: Xu Shao

Xu Shao (Zijiang); Hsü Shao (Tzŭ-chiang); 許劭 (子將)

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You are viewing the profile of Xu Shao (許劭), styled Zijiang (子將), born in Runan. “A specialist of personalities living in Runan. Praised Cao Cao. Later served Liu Yao.” Xu Shao was affiliated with and Liu Yao. Return to the Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia to learn more or explore our Encyclopedia Directory to browse by kingdom or category.


Xu Shao (Zijiang) 許劭 (子將)

Lived: AD 150–195


Served: Liu Yao

A specialist of personalities living in Runan. Praised Cao Cao. Later served Liu Yao.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Hsü Shao (Tzŭ-chiang)
Simplified Chinese: 许劭 (子将)
Pronunciation: Xu3 Shao4 (Zi3jiang1Pronunciation
Cantonese (Yale): Heui Siu (Ji-jeung)
Cantonese (Jyutpin): Heoi Siu (Zi-zoeng)

Birthplace: Runan

Other Names: Xu Shou

Name Notes: Appears in Destiny of an Emperor by the name of Xu Shou. If you say this person’s surname followed by style name it would become “Xu2 Zi3jiang1” because of the third tone after the Xu3.

Rank and Titles

Officer of Merit

Family and Relationships

Xu Qian (Brother); Xu Hun, Xu Kun (Sons); Xu Jing (Cousin); Xu Xun, Xu Xiang (Kinsman)

Fact vs. Fiction

Differences Between Fact and Common Fiction

  • His service to Liu Yao is ignored in the novel.

Literary Appearances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: 1

Sanguozhi: Wei 1, Wei 13, Wei 14, Wei 23

Hou Han shu: 68, 69, 74

Zizhi tongjian: 60, 106

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Comprehensive Biography: Xu Shao (Zijiang)
Date: 03/06     Replies: 13


Historic (Confirmed)

Xu Shao, styled Zijiang, lived in Runan and was fond of grading people according to their talents, and had a good eye for the talents of others. He was the nephew of Xu Xun. He, and his cousin, Xu Jing, had both gained high reputations. They were both interested in people from local communities, and every month they woudl prepare a new table of merits. Because of this, at the beginning of each month in Runan people would gather to hear their moral critiques. At one point, Xu Shao became Officer of the Bureau of Merit in the commandery, and when the other officers in the administration heard about it they all became exceptionally careful and diligent in their conduct.

During the Yellow Scarve Rebellion Cao Cao met Qiao Xuan, who thought him an exceptional person and observed that he had already made a name for himself. He suggested to Cao Cao that he seek out Xu Shao for an evaluation. Cao Cao took him up on his advice, and located Xu Shao. When they met, Cao Cao asked him what manner of person he was. Xu Shao despised him, and at first refused to answer. Cao Cao pressed him for an answer, to which Xu Shao replied, “You? In times of peace, an able subject. In times of trouble, a dangerous leader of men.” Cao Cao departed very pleased with these words. In the novel, Sanguo yanyi, rather than a ‘dangerous leader’, the line is portrayed as a ‘crafty hero’.

Source: Zizhi tongjian (Sima Guang).



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September 22, 2023