After the break up of the Han dynasty (206bc-220ad) China entered a period of division and civil war, the Three Kingdoms’ period. The military strategies and campaigns of this chivalrous era provide the setting for the Three Kingdoms saga, characterized by a rich person gallery and intricate plot development. The sequence of events is roughly based on historical fact, and most of the characters can be verified in historical sources. From the north, Cao Cao, a former Han minister, tries to unify China under his own leadership. His main opponent, Liu Bei, a direct descendant of the Han imperial family, is based in the southwest. In the following episodes we meet these and other heroes of martial and intellectual genius: Guan Yu and Zhuge Liang.
The first extract is from the First Three Kingdoms Qian San guo, told 1996 by Fei Zhengliang (1931-), son and disciple of Fei Junliang (1891-1952) of the Wu School. The next extract is from the Middle Three Kingdoms, told 1997 by Gao Zaihua (1929-), disciple of Kang Youhua (1898-1951) of the Kang School. Fei Zhengliang’s performance was video-recorded by Svend Nielsen, Copenhagen. Gao Zaihua’s performance was tape- and video-recorded by the author of this website. The photos are by the late Jette Ross, initiator of this website. Here you will find short glimpses of the performances in sound, picture and text. For complete performances in text—English and Chinese—as well as longer extracts on VCD, see Chinese Storytellers.