People interested in the Three Kingdoms period (三國時代) of Chinese history will have a chance to participate in a re-enactment of a river battle between the troops led by Cao Cao (曹操) and those led by Guan Yu (關羽) at Sun Moon Lake in November.
The re-enactment is one of the events being showcased at this year’s Sun Moon Lake Musical Festival, which opens on the second weekend of next month.
Chang Chien-kuo (張建國), a specialist at the Nantou County Government’s civil affairs department, said the Wenwu Temple (文武廟) at Sun Moon Lake was built to worship Guan Yu and Confucius.
The story of the battle is taken from chapter 73 of Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義), in which Guan Yu commands six ships to cross a river and fight Cao Cao’s troops, he said.
“According to the book, Guan Yu did not win many battles,” Chang said. “The battle was one of the few in which Guan triumphed.”
Chang said the county government is looking for 300 volunteers to join the re-enactment, which will take place on Nov. 12.
He said the volunteers would all be members of Guan’s army.
Those interested in participating can register with the Wenwu Temple Web site at ww.wenwu.org.tw/100wenwu.
“We will provide costumes, weapons and food free of charge,” he said, adding that the weapons are made of bread.
Cao was the founding father of the State of Wei (魏) in the Three Kingdoms period and he is often portrayed in Chinese folk stories as a sly and merciless warlord. Guan, on the other hand, was a general serving the state emperor of Shu Han (蜀漢) and was highly regarded by many for his loyalty, righteousness and courage.
Chang said the volunteers are scheduled to gather at Wenwu Temple and put on their costumes. They would then be taken to Chaowu Pier on the north side of Sun Moon Lake and board a ship. The volunteers should be able to sense the atmosphere of an imminent battle when they hear the war drums being played on the ship and see smoke signals being set. The ship will dock at Ita Thao Pier on the south side of the lake.
Cao Cao’s army, meanwhile, is to be made up of students from Nantou County.
The two armies are to confront each other on the shore after the volunteers arrive at Ita Thao Pier.
Chang said approximately 1,500 people are expected to participate in this year’s re-enactment. The battle was first staged two years ago.