Two Qiaos

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Two Qiaos
Famous Women, 1799 (K).jpg
The two Qiaos, as painted by Gai Qi, 1799
Da Qiao
Traditional Chinese 大橋
Simplified Chinese 大桥
Literal meaning Older Qiao
Xiao Qiao
Traditional Chinese 小橋
Simplified Chinese 小桥
Literal meaning Younger Qiao
A Qing dynasty block print of Da Qiao and Xiao Qiao.

The Two Qiaos of Jiangdong (traditional Chinese: 江東二橋; simplified Chinese: 江东二桥; pinyin: Jiāngdōng èr Qiáo) were two sisters of the Qiao family who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty. Their names were not recorded in history, so in later times they are simply referred to as Da Qiao (literally "older Qiao") and Xiao Qiao (literally "younger Qiao"). They were from Wan County (皖縣), Lujiang Commandery (廬江郡), which is in present-day Anqing, Anhui. Da Qiao married the warlord Sun Ce, who established the foundation of the state of Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms period; Xiao Qiao married Zhou Yu, a general who served under Sun Ce and later under his successor Sun Quan.[1]

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms[edit]

The Qiao sisters are featured as characters in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi), which romanticises the historical events before and during the Three Kingdoms period. In the novel, the Chinese character for "Qiao" in their names, 橋/桥, is replaced with 喬/乔.

In the novel, the Qiao sisters were the daughters of a Qiao Guolao (喬國老; literally "State Elder Qiao"), possibly referring to Qiao Xuan. Zhou Yu's biography in the historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi) did not mention the name of the Qiao sisters' father, who was simply referred to as Qiao Gong (橋公; literally "Elder Qiao" or "Lord Qiao"). Historically, Qiao Xuan died in 184, while the Qiao sisters married Sun Ce and Zhou Yu in 200, so it was not possible that Qiao Xuan was still living when the marriages took place. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Qiao Xuan was the "Qiao Gong" mentioned in Zhou Yu's biography.

See List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Zhuge Liang's diplomatic mission to Jiangdong for another fictional event in Sanguo Yanyi in which the Qiao sisters are mentioned by name only.

In popular culture[edit]

The Qiao sisters are featured as playable characters in Koei's Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi video game series. The anime Koihime Musō and Ikki Tousen make references to Da Qiao and Xiao Qiao as well, in which they are known by their respective names in Japanese – Daikyō and Shōkyō.

Taiwanese supermodel Lin Chi-ling starred as Xiao Qiao in the 2008 Chinese epic war film Red Cliff directed by John Woo. In the film, it is surmised that Cao Cao's infatuation with Xiao Qiao is the reason why he invaded Sun Quan's lands and initiated the battle. Chinese actress Huang Yi portrayed Xiao Qiao in Just Another Pandora's Box, a spoof of Red Cliff.

Cai Hancen and Tsai Yi-chen portrayed Da Qiao and Xiao Qiao respectively in the 2009 Taiwanese television series K.O.3an Guo, a spoof of Romance of the Three Kingdoms in a modern high school setting.

Chinese actresses Liu Jing and Zhao Ke portrayed Da Qiao and Xiao Qiao respectively in the 2010 Chinese television series Three Kingdoms.

The Qiaos are featured as "gods" in the Japanese mobile game Puzzle & Dragons, as part of the Three Kingdoms God series.[2]

Younger Qiao's alleged tomb in Yueyang, Hunan, China.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (時得橋公兩女,皆國色也。策自納大橋,瑜納小橋。) Sanguozhi vol. 54.
  2. ^