|Water Margin character|
|Rank||5th, Brave Star (天勇星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits|
|Left General of the Five Tiger Generals of Liangshan|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Yuncheng, Shanxi|
|First appearance||Chapter 63|
|Weapon||Blue Dragon Crescent Moon Blade (青龍偃月刀)|
Guan Sheng is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 5th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Great Blade".
Guan Sheng is a direct descendant of Guan Yu. He bears a resemblance in appearance to his ancestor, standing at eight chi and five or six cun, with a long beard, long eyebrows and eyes like a phoenix's. He brandishes a Blue Dragon Crescent Moon Blade similar to the one used by his ancestor, and is known for being well versed in military strategy. He serves in the imperial army as a general in Pudong.
When the Liangshan outlaws attack Daming Prefecture (大名府; in present-day Handan, Hebei) to rescue Lu Junyi and Shi Xiu, the Imperial Tutor Cai Jing recommends Guan Sheng to lead the imperial army to eliminate the outlaws. Guan Sheng employs the tactic of "besieging Wei to rescue Zhao" against the outlaws by attacking their base at Liangshan to force them to lift the siege on Daming Prefecture. He is flanked by his deputies Xuan Zan and Hao Siwen. Zhang Heng, one of the leaders of the Liangshan navy, attempts to ambush Guan Sheng by sneaking into his camp at night but is quickly detected by the vigilant general and captured.
Becoming an outlaw
Song Jiang, Liangshan's chief, is impressed with Guan Sheng's might and is eager to have him join the Liangshan band. He sends Huyan Zhuo to pretend to be a turncoat and lure Guan Sheng into a trap. Guan Sheng falls for the ruse, arms himself with a bow and arrows, and brings only a few men with him to meet Huyan Zhuo. He is captured in the ambush and decides to join Liangshan after being persuaded by Song Jiang. He becomes one of Liangshan's Five Tiger Generals later.
Emperor Huizong sends Shan Tinggui and Wei Dingguo to eliminate the outlaws after Guan Sheng's defection. Eager to prove his loyalty, Guan Sheng volunteers to lead the attack on the imperial army, along with Xuan Zan and Hao Siwen, who have also joined Liangshan. Unexpectedly, the first battle ends in disaster when both Xuan Zan and Hao Siwen are captured by the enemy. Guan Sheng confronts Shan Tinggui outside Lingzhou (凌州; present-day Ling County, Dezhou, Shandong), where the two engage in man-to-man combat. Guan Sheng feigns defeat to lure Shan Tinggui to pursue him, and then suddenly turns around to catch Shan off guard, knocks him off his horse and captures him. Song Jiang manages to convince Shan Tinggui to join Liangshan, and then Shan goes to persuade Wei Dingguo to join Liangshan as well.
Guan Sheng participates in the campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after the outlaws have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong. He is one of the few survivors after the campaigns and returns to be reinstated as an imperial general in recognition of his contributions. One day, after training his cavalry, Guan Sheng gets drunk and falls off his horse. He falls sick and dies shortly after.
- (Chinese) Li, Mengxia. 108 Heroes from the Water Margin, page 11. EPB Publishers Pte Ltd, 1992. ISBN 9971-0-0252-3.
- Buck, Pearl. All Men are Brothers. Moyer Bell Ltd, 2006. ISBN 9781559213035.
- Zhang, Lin Ching. Biographies of Characters in Water Margin. Writers Publishing House, 2009. ISBN 978-7506344784.
- Shibusawa, Kou. Bandit Kings of Ancient China, pages 62, 90, and 98. KOEI, 1989.
- (Japanese) Ichisada, Miyazaki. Suikoden: Kyoko no naka no Shijitsu. Chuo Koronsha, 1993. ISBN 978-4122020559.
- Miyamotois, Yoko. Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits.
- Keffer, David. Outlaws of the Marsh.