An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Fan Kuai 樊噲

Jul 14, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Fan Kuai 樊噲 (d. 189 BCE) was a general of the early Former Han period 前漢 (206 BC-8 CE).

He hailed from Pei 沛 (modern Peixian 沛縣, Jiangsu) and had the occupation of dog butcher. When the first rebellions against the Qin dynasty 秦 (221-206 BCE) broke out, he joined Xiao He 蕭何 and Cao Shen 曹參 and suggested to Liu Bang 劉邦, the eventual founder of the Han dynasty, to adopt the title of Duke of Pei 沛公.

For his successful contributions in the campaigns of Liu Bang, he was bestowed the title of Wise and Perfect Lord 賢成君. During the banquet of Hongmen 鴻門 after the conquest of the capital of the Qin dynasty, when the hegemonial king Xiang Yu 項羽 wanted Liu Bang being assassinated, Fan Kuai directly dashed into the camp of Xiang Yu and accused him of breaking the peace agreement concluded between Liu Bang and Xiang Yu.

When Liu Bang was made king of Han 漢 by Xiang Yu, Fan Kuai was rewarded with the title of Marquis of Linwu 臨武侯. He was soon after promoted to gentleman of the interior (langzhong 郎中). During the ensuing war between Liu Bang and Xiang Yu, Fan Kuai took part and several times defeated the troops of Xiang Yu.

After the foundation of the Han dynasty, Fan Kuai was general and also princely counsellor (xiangguo 相國). He led troops in the campaigns against the rebels Zang Tu 臧荼, Chen Xi 陳豨, Lu Wan 盧綰 and Xin, the king of Han 韓王信. For these victories he was given the title of Marquis of Wuyang 舞陽侯.

He died at the end of Emperor Hui's 漢惠帝 (r. 195-188) reign. His posthumous title is Marquis Wu "the Martial" of Wuyang 舞陽武侯.

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1996). Hanshu cidian 漢書辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 913.