Meng Huo riding Red Ox meets Zhuge Liang - Qing ZQ-SGYY

Meng Huo riding his Red Ox

Red ox (chìmáo niú 赤毛牛) is a fictional animal which appears in chapter 89 of the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The Nanman leader Meng Huo rides it during an encounter with the Shu-Han forces.


In chapter 89 the Nanman King, Meng Huo, comes out to fight Zhuge Liang a fourth time. Romance of the Three Kingdoms describes Meng Huo's equippings as follows:

“The King of the Nanman was clad in mail of rhinoceros hide and wore a bright red casque. In his left hand he bore a shield, and his right gripped a sword. He rode a red ox. As soon as he saw his enemies, he opened his mouth and poured forth abuse and insults, while his warriors, huge and bold, darted to and fro brandishing their weapons.”

Seeing this, Zhuge Liang at once ordered his men to retire within the stockades near the battlelines and bar the gates. When the Nanman came close, they pranced about naked, shouting in derision. Days passed, but Zhuge Liang and his men stayed within the stockades. As Zhuge Liang predicted, the Nanman became less vigorous as time passed. Days later, at night, Zhuge Liang and his men left the stockades. The next day when the Nanman came to inspect the stockades, they found out that none of Zhuge Liang's men had remained there, and it looked as if they had left in a hurry. They figured Zhuge Liang must've received bad news from the throne, so they took pursuit, only to ultimately fall for another of Zhuge Liang's ploys.

It is not exactly clear if Meng Huo was riding the red ox the entire time until his defeat, or just the moment the forces met for the fourth time.

See alsoEdit


  • In the Chinese version of the novel the red ox is called 赤毛牛. The characters 赤毛牛 litterally mean ‘red haired ox’.
  • The red ox does not appear in Sanguo zhi pinghua, so it was probably created by the author of Romance, Luo Guanzhong.


  • Luo Guanzhong 羅貫中. Sanguo yanyi 三國演義 “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. Trans. C. H. Brewitt-Taylor. New York: Tuttle Publishing, 2002.

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