Saint Hermit of the Southern lands

Saint Hermit

Saint Hermit of the Southern Land (Nánhuá lǎoxian 南華老仙) is a fictional character who appears in chapter 1 of the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms as a Daoist immortal. By giving Zhang Jue three volumes of the Book of Heaven he initiated the foundation of the Way of Peace.

Historically there once lived a man called Zhuangzi 莊子 (during the 4th century), who was called “The Nanhua Immortal” (Nánhuá zhēnrén 南華真人). In more modern translations of Romance of the Three Kingdoms the Saint Hermit is called by this name.


When Zhang Jue was busy gathering medicinal herbs in the mountains, an old man appeared before him. The old man was emerald eyed, had a youthful countenance and was carrying with him a walking staff of goosefoot wood. The stick was fashioned from the hardened stalk of a goosefoot plant.[1]

The old man beckoned Zhang Jue to come with him into a cave. There, he presented him with a book from the heavens which came in three volumes. The old man said:

This book is called the Essential Art of Great Peace. Once you have mastered its contents, you will represent the heavens in spreading this knowledge, and thereby save all of mankind. But you must be single-minded, or rest assure, you will greatly suffer.[1]

Zhang Jue took a humble bow and then asked the man who he was. The old man replied:

I am the Saint Hermit from the Southern lands.

The old man vanished into thin air and is not seen again.[1]

See alsoEdit


Fact vs. FictionEdit


  • ...The Saint Hermit did not exist as presented in the novel. Historically there was however a man by the name of Zhuangzi 莊子, on who the Saint Hermit is based.
  • ...Zhang Jue did not obtain a Book of Heaven, but instead made use of the Book of Great Peace, with Green Headings, but how he obtained it is not known.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Chapter 1. Trans. Charles Henry Brewitt-Taylor. sd.
  2. Michaud, "The Yellow Turbans" in Monumenta Serica XVII, pages 82-3


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