Wikipedia:WikiProject Three Kingdoms

Detail of Battle of Changban
WikiProject Three Kingdoms
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Things you can do

Here are some open WikiProject Three Kingdoms tasks:

  • Meta-tasks:
    • Place the {{WP3K}} template on the talk page of articles within the scope of this project.
    • Get pictures for the infoboxes of the 3K people.
    • Add references to the articles.
  • Improvement Drive
    • Segregate fact and fiction for all biography and history articles.

Feel free to edit this list or discuss these tasks.

Welcome to the Three Kingdoms WikiProject on the English Wikipedia! This is a WikiProject dedicated to improving Wikipedia's coverage of topics related to the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history.


As noted above, the project generally considers any article related to Three Kingdoms events, individuals and information to be within its scope. Factual (historical) and fictional (dramatised) information will both be described, albeit clearly defined and separated within relevant sections and articles. It is the primary goal of this project to ensure information be as historically accurate and reliable as possible and to ensure that this achievement is stringently monitored and maintained once reached.

Our primary work is concentrated in a number of broad areas:

  • Battles and events, both historical and dramatised are clearly and carefully defined.
  • Three Kingdoms people, from strategists to warriors to other notable individuals, both historical and fictional of the era, are described.
  • Note that knowledge of Three Kingdoms history or drama would be welcomed, but not compulsory. If an editor finds recent popular culture additions to be noteworthy, this is welcome within the specified subsection.
  • Equipment and technology, weapons, armour and vehicles used within the period will be notable within certain articles (Wooden ox for example). These additions will also be welcomed within articles regarding the inventors or prominent users of such equipment (Zhuge Liang for example).
  • Military historiography, publications, and historians.
  • Types and periods of warfare, the military histories of particular states and groups, and general military science and doctrine.
  • Depictions of the Three Kingdoms period in cultural art forms, such as painting, sculpture, music, film, television, video games, comics, poetry, and prose.


  • To provide guidelines and recommendations for articles that describe all aspects of the Three Kingdoms period.
  • To improve Wikipedia's coverage of the Three Kingdoms period by creating, expanding, and maintaining such articles.
  • To serve as the central point of discussion for issues related to the Three Kingdoms period on Wikipedia.
  • To ensure clear definition between factual and fictional information on the Three Kingdoms period.


The guidelines presented in this section are intended to be guidelines only; while they are well-suited for the vast majority of the Three Kingdoms period articles, there exist a number of peculiar cases where, for lack of a better solution, alternate approaches have been taken. These exceptions are often the result of protracted negotiation; if something seems unusual or out of place, it may be worthwhile to ask before attempting to change it, as there might be reasons for the oddity that are not immediately obvious!

Naming conventionsEdit

Tone marksEdit

Outside of infoboxes (for biographical entries) and/or the introductory sentence of an article, articles should avoid using tone marks for proper nouns, because the casual English reader would not know how to pronounce them, and no contemporary academic source uses tone marks for Chinese names. An exception made for "ü", since ü is not a tone; it is to distinguish between the pinyin letters u and ü, which carry different sounds and are not the same vowel. For example, "Lu Bu" instead of "Lü Bu" would not only render incorrect pronunciation but would be incorrect.


  • Lǚ Bù - not preferable
  • Lu Bu - incorrect
  • Lü Bu - preferable


An article should generally be placed at the most common name (in terms of academic study, not video games) used to refer to the event, following the hanyu pinyin rules.

If disambiguation is needed for battle articles, the year may be added in parentheses. Multiple battles at the same location in the same year should be called "First", "Second", and so forth. Alternatively, they can be merged into one article, but this is not recommended if much information is available for each battle.


For people, due to the limited transliteration of Chinese characters, it is likely that a Three Kingdoms person would have the same article name as another Chinese person, sometimes in the same time period, or even serving the same lord. There are several ways to disambiguate them, if the Three Kingdoms person needs to be renamed:

  • If a Three Kingdoms person has a name that coincides with another person in another time period:
Rename the article by appending "(Three Kingdoms)" or "(Han dynasty)" after the name, depending on time of activity. For example, Lu Xun (Three Kingdoms) and Tao Qian (Han dynasty). See "Terminology" section below for further clarification.
  • In the unfortunate case that there is another Han dynasty person with the same transliteration, further disambiguate by specifying Eastern Han or Western Han; and failing that, by year of birth and death.
  • Otherwise, depending on the information available, either:
Rename both articles to show their respective states if they served different states. For example Ma Zhong; or
Rename both articles to show their courtesy names.


The Three Kingdoms

The Three Kingdoms are Cao Wei (220-265), Shu Han (221-263), and Eastern Wu (222-280). Despite the name "Three Kingdoms", the Three Kingdoms were not technically kingdoms since their supreme rulers were not kings, but emperors in the Chinese context. Since these domains do not meet the definition of empires (that honour goes to all of China, also known as the Chinese Empire), we refer to the Three Kingdoms as "states". For example, "the state of Cao Wei", or simply "the state of Wei".

The reason needed for this disambiguation is because there actually was a time when these states were actually kingdoms headed by vassal kings (), who were nominally subjects of an emperor. They were:

  • King of Wei (魏王), Cao Cao, from 216 to 220, nominally under Emperor Xian of Han.
  • King of Hanzhong (漢中王), Liu Bei, from 219 to 221, self-declared, not recognised by the Han imperial court which was controlled by Cao Cao.
  • King of Wu (吳王), Sun Quan, from 221 to 229, nominally under Cao Pi, who was emperor of the state of Cao Wei. Sun Quan declared independence from Wei in 222, but continued to rule as a king until 229, when he declared himself emperor of Eastern Wu.

With this in mind, the use of "kingdom" as in "Kingdom of Wei" might lead to confusion, so we use "Cao Wei", "Shu Han", and "Eastern Wu" to refer to the three contending states instead. We may also use their short forms: Wei, Shu, Wu.

Do not use "Cao Wei", "Shu Han", and "Eastern Wu" for events before their establishments; use the names of the leading warlords instead. See Lists of people of the Three Kingdoms#Notes for a more detailed explanation.

"Three Kingdoms period"

Although the scope of our WikiProject covers the years 184 to 280 in ancient China according to the popular definition of the "Three Kingdoms period", the academic definition of the Three Kingdoms refers to the period between the abdication of Emperor Xian of Han (220) and the fall of Wu (280). Therefore, it is preferable to avoid referring to events, people, and establishments before 220 as solely "in the Three Kingdoms period" (or "Three Kingdoms era"); instead, use phrases such as "late Eastern Han dynasty" (or late Han dynasty) or "end of the Han dynasty".

Provinces, or "zhou"

The convention for naming ancient Chinese provinces here is to translate "zhou" (州) to "province". This is to disambiguate between the old provinces and the modern cities that took the old provinces' names. For example, the "Jingzhou" (荊州) mentioned in old texts refers to a province called "Jing", not the modern city of Jingzhou in Hubei province; so when talking about the ancient province, we should use "Jing Province" instead of "Jingzhou".

See also:

Article structureEdit

The guidelines in this section are intended to serve as a starting point for writing a good article; they are not meant to enforce a single structure on all articles, nor to limit the topics an article will discuss.

Relevant style guides:

General structureEdit

Introduction and a general overview. Make sure to include the place (China) and time (late Eastern Han dynasty / Three Kingdoms period) of the subject for context.
  • History
Leave out if subject is entirely fictional
  • In fiction
Leave out if subject is not covered in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms and other works of fiction
  • Mythology
Leave out if none exists
  • Cultural references
Sourced and significant references only

For biographiesEdit

  • Lead section
In addition to place and time, biographical articles should include, if known, the date of birth and death as precise as recorded, the person's occupation, and whose forces he/she belonged to. Alternate names (e.g. courtesy names, art names, pseudonyms), Chinese characters, and pronunciations can be in the first sentence if the article has no infobox.
Please note that the Gregorian calendar did not exist before 1582. Saying the same date "in the Julian and the proleptic Gregorian calendars" is okay only from 1 March 200 to 28 February 300. Otherwise, use the Julian calendar as the historically correct Western calendar at that time when converting Chinese calendar.
  • Life
Based entirely on reliable sources on history. Do not include fictional elements except to clarify minor deficiencies from history that are often confused as history. (e.g. "While the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms mentioned [...], in reality [...] happened.") Can consist of several subsections (such subsections would have headings like "Early life", "Career", "Death", etc)
  • Family
The family members of the person. Presenting the information in the form of a list is acceptable, but prose is preferred.
  • Appointments and titles
The appointments and titles held by the person, presented in the form of a list. This section is optional and may be included in articles which are still in the developing stage. For more developed articles, this section may be omitted since the appointments and titles are already covered in the main text.
  • In fiction
Describe major deficiencies from history only. Do not retell the person's story according to Romance of the Three Kingdoms and other works of fiction.
  • Legacy / Worship / Mythology
Describe lasting legacies and/or myths that the person is remembered/worshipped for. Describe major places of worship and the person's place in religion. (See Guan Yu for example) Depending on the subject, it may be desirable to have more than one section for this information.
  • Cultural references
Depictions in Chinese opera or popular culture. Be brief and keep in mind WP:TRIVIA.

For historical eventsEdit

  • Lead section
The lead section should state the entities involved (eg. "The Battle of Guandu was fought between the forces of Cao Cao and Yuan Shao"). Include the Chinese name (in Chinese characters) after the article name. Briefly gloss over the cause and effects of the event. Include relevant infoboxes (eg. {{Infobox Military Conflict}} for military conflicts.)
  • Background
Explain the lead up to the event. Give a general picture of the forces and the motivations involved.
  • The course of events
Divided into sections as needed, with suitable heading names (e.g. "Battle", "Prelude", "Suppressing the rebellion", etc.)
  • Aftermath
The immediate aftermath. May be merged with the legacy and analysis section.
  • Legacy
Long-lasting effects, why and for what the event is remembered. May be merged with the aftermath and analysis section.
  • Analysis
Scholarly analysis of the event: what went wrong, etc. Use scholarly sources, no original research. May be merged with the above two sections.
  • In fiction / Cultural references
Briefly describe how the event is portrayed in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, correct popular misconceptions about the historical event if any. Describe references in folklore, poetry, opera, popular culture. Be brief about popular culture and keep in mind WP:TRIVIA.

Content and styleEdit


Policy requires that articles reference only reliable sources; however, this is a minimal condition, rather than a final goal. Articles on the Three Kingdoms period should aim to be based primarily on published secondary works by reputable historians. The use of high quality primary sources is also appropriate, but care should be taken to use them correctly, without straying into original research. Editors are encouraged to extensively survey the available literature — and, in particular, any available historiographical commentary — regarding an article's topic in order to identify every source considered to be authoritative or significant; these sources should, if possible, be directly consulted when writing the article.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT use the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms and its derivatives, video games such as Dynasty Warriors, and any other work of fiction, as sources for history! They can only be used when you are writing about the novel's events (i.e. under sections titled "In fiction", "Cultural legacy", or variations thereof), which may differ widely from actual history.

Popular cultureEdit

"In popular culture" sections should be avoided unless the subject has had a well-cited and notable impact on popular culture. If present, the section should be a prose discussion of the subject's cultural significance, cited from reliable sources. In particular, the following should be avoided:

  • Compendiums of every trivial appearance of the subject in popular culture (trivia)
  • Unsupported speculation about cultural significance or fictional likenesses (original research)

This tends to be a problem in Three Kingdoms articles featuring battles and individuals commonly featured in film and television and video games (i.e. the Dynasty Warriors series); for example, Zhuge Liang and the Battle of Wuzhang Plains may appear in many of Koei's Three Kingdoms-based strategy and action games, but their many appearances do not warrant an exhaustive list of each and every variation and title.



The category tree for all topics related to people involved in the Three Kingdoms derives from the top-level Category:People of the Three Kingdoms:

Category:People of the Three Kingdoms
This category should only contain people who cannot be sorted into the sub-categories. For example, barbarian leaders who fought in the Three Kingdoms period in China but did not submit to the Chinese (Tadun, Kebineng, etc.)
Category:People during the end of the Han dynasty
Category:Fictional people of the Three Kingdoms
The category for fictional characters, note that articles under this category should not be categorised in any of the above categories.

In addition, all historical people (not fictional) should be categorised by their years of births and deaths, or Category:Year of birth unknown and Category:Year of death unknown.




Peer reviewsEdit


The following is a listing of articles (and other types of content) within the scope of the project that have been noted for their outstanding quality. Project members are encouraged to peruse these at their leisure, as they serve as excellent examples of different writing and organisational styles that one may wish to emulate.

Note that the project does not necessarily claim any authorship or credit for creating these. While many were written by members — sometimes with extensive input from the project as a whole — others were created by uninvolved editors, or predate the existence of the project itself, and are listed here merely because they fall within our scope.

Featured contentEdit

Featured articles are considered to be Wikipedia's very best work; they must pass through a review process as featured article candidates before being selected.

A-Class articlesEdit

A-Class articles, while not as rigorously reviewed as featured articles, are nevertheless considered to provide a well-written and complete treatment of the topic. Good Articles related to military history are encouraged to be brought to WikiProject Military history for A-class review, where they will provide advices for further improvement.

  • None

Good ArticlesEdit

Good Articles.




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Project organisationEdit


The full list of project members is located on a separate subpage; please feel free to add your name to it if you would like to join the project!

You can also use the userbox, {{User WP3K}} or {{User WP3K alt}}, to be automatically added to the WikiProjects Three Kingdoms members category.

Project bannerEdit

The {{WP3K}} project banner template should be added (not subst:ed) to the talk page of every article within the scope of the project. The class and importance parameters should be filled (check the documentation and instructions).


Images, maps, and mediaEdit

Address requests for particular images directly to the Graphic Lab, the Illustration WikiProject, or the Maps WikiProject. To ensure that requests can be considered, it is helpful to provide material such as external images, images from Wikimedia Commons, or clear text descriptions.

If an image is available online, but cannot be uploaded to Wikipedia, it may be appropriate to use {{External media}} (t/l) to provide a direct link to the image and a (referenced) description of what the image depicts.

Wikimedia Commons
Please address requests for the creation of new maps or the evaluation of existing ones to the Maps WikiProject.

Online resourcesEdit

User-created pagesEdit

The following are some useful pages created by members of the project and other Wikipedia users.


Requests for translation assistance should be made at the talk page of this project, or at Wikipedia:Translation. Only use online translation tools as a last resort.


Main tool page:
  • Reflinks - Edits bare references - adds title/dates etc. to bare references
  • Checklinks - Edit and repair external links
  • Dab solver - Quickly resolve ambiguous links.
  • Peer reviewer - Provides hints and suggestion to improving articles.