When Zhang Jue 張角, Zhang Bao 張寶 and Zhang Liang 張梁 prepared themselves for Rebellion they somewhat organized their followers. Their followers were divided into several Divisions (fāng 方) and every Division had its own leader.[1] This is where talk of so-called Division Leaders comes from.

Carl Leban and Paul Michaud have used the term "Fang" to describe a Division.[1] Fang is the Romanization of '方'. They chose not to use the word 'Division' (which Rafe de Crespigny uses as a translation of 'Fang'), or 'Adept' (which Howard S. Levy uses as a translation of 'Fang') because they believe that we do not know enough about 'Fang' to give it a proper translation.[2]

Levy, Michaud and Leban, also use the term "Ta-Fang", which Rafe de Crespigny would translate as 'Large Division'. Michaud, Leban and Levy also use Ta-Fang to describe Ma Yuanyi 馬元義, a Large Division Leader according to Rafe de Crespigny. By following these historians we can say that there were indeed ranks in the army of the Yellow Turbans, and thus some sort of military organization.[3]

List of Ranks & Titles of Yellow TurbansEdit

Main article: List of Yellow Turban Ranks and Titles

Before we order all ranks and their corresponding wielders, we make a list of all ranks and titles we can find, which are:

Zhang Jue, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang took the titles of Heaven, Earth and Man. Since they were head of the Yellow Turbans, these titles were probably the highest. Below them are the Division Leaders, or Fang:

The Grand Adepts (ta-fang) controlled over ten thousand adherents, while the Lesser Adepts (hsiao-fang) commanded from six to eight thousand men. The Great Leaders (ch'ü-shuai) served under the Adepts, above whom there were only Chang Chüeh and his two younger brothers.
—Howard S. Levy in Yellow Turban Religion and Rebellion 217.[5]

From this we also learn that below the Fang were the Local Leaders, (qu shuài; also known as Great Leaders[1], Gang Leaders[7] and Bandit Leaders[6]).

Then there remains the title of Great Commander (大帥), which was wielded by Wu Ba 吳霸. About its wielder we know hardly anything and about his rank even less. We only know that Wu Ba wielded it.[4] (I wouldn't be surprised if he was actually a Local Leader).

Military OrganizationEdit

Zhang Bao (Yellow Turban) - RTKXI Zhang Jiao - RTKXI Zhang Liang - RTKXI
Zhang Bao
Lord of Earth General
Zhang Jue
Lord of Heaven General
Zhang Liang
Lord of Man General
Bo Cai - RTKXI Ma Yuanyi - RTK
Bo Cai
Large Division Leader
Ma Yuanyi
Large Division Leader
No image
Wu Ba
Great Commander
No image Han Zhong - RTKXI No image No image Zhang Mancheng - RTKXI Zhao Hong - RTKXI
Bu Si
Gang Leader
Han Zhong
Gang Leader
Peng Tuo
Gang Leader
Sun Xia
Gang Leader
Zhang Mancheng
Gang Leader
Zhao Hong
Gang Leader

Followers left out of the above:

  • Liang Zhongning
    "Leader of Yellow Turbans"
  • Tang Zhou
    a follower who's rank (if he had one) is not known.
  • Zhang Bo
    "Leader of Yellow Turbans"

Military DistrubutionEdit

Yellow Turbans Organization

A map depicting the known locations of the Yellow Turbans.


  1. This rank is given different translations, such as Great Leader, Bandit Leader and Gang Leader. Rafe de Crespigny, the most recent source uses the term local leader.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Michaud, The Yellow Turbans, page 96
  2. Levy, Bifurcation of the Yellow Turbans, page 252
  3. Leban, Ts'ao Ts'ao and the Rise of Wei, page 74
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chen Shou, Sanguo zhi, Wei 18
  5. 5.0 5.1 Levy, Yellow Turban Religion and Rebellion, page 217
  6. 6.0 6.1 Leban, Ts'ao Ts'ao and the Rise of Wei, page 70
  7. Sima Jian, The Memoirs of Han China, part II, page 297


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