Guan Yu aka Guan Gong

This is Guan Yu. I saw this Guan Yu statue at Just Anthony (a Chinese furniture and antique shop) a few months after arriving in Singapore, though I didn’t know who he was.

I took the photo because I though it was exceedingly strange for a warrior to be shown in a pose reading a book. Warriors, I thought, were shown on prancing horses, holding swords or spears, or surveying the landscape. They’re not shown reading.

Ah, but you see, he’s a legendary Chinese general, and he’s reading Sun Tzu’s Art of War. That makes sense!

Figurines and statues of Guan Yu are common, since Guan Yu is commonly worshipped as a deity, or at least displayed as a kind of lucky charm. Most of the time, Guan Yu is shown riding his horse like a boss, wielding his special weapon like a boss, or just scowling and holding his very dignified beard, but some of the time, he’s shown seated, reading a book like a boss.

Hats off to you, Guan Yu, for choosing to fight with your brains and not just your brawn.