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Traditional Chinese 軻比能
Simplified Chinese 轲比能

Kebineng (died 235) was a territorial chief of the Xianbei tribe during the late Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. He rose to power after the warlord Cao Cao defeated the Wuhuan tribe in northern China.


When Tadun of the Wuhuan was defeated by Cao Cao at the Battle of White Wolf Mountain, Kebineng and several other Xianbei tribal leaders decided to send tribute to Cao Cao. Because of this deed, Kebineng and these other chiefs were given kingly status. According to Sima Guang's Zizhi Tongjian, Kebineng was a just, honest and charismatic man who managed to win the support of most of the Xianbei. Kebineng's greatest political rival was another Xianbei chief named Budugen. After Kebineng lured Budugen's brother into a trap and killed him, Budugen and Kebineng would war incessantly. Budugen's clan weakened in strength from this fighting, though Kebineng's faction grew greatly in power from military victory, numbers, and support from the state of Cao Wei.

After Budugen went to the Han Dynasty imperial court to offer tribute, Kebineng decided to assault the eastern branch of the Xianbei. The Han imperial court began to deem Kebineng as a threat and Tian Yu, the Han imperial court-appointed protector of the Wuhuan people, decided to strike at Kebineng's rear while Kebineng was on campaign. After this incident, relations between the Xianbei tribe under Kebineng's leadership and the Han Dynasty (and later the state of Cao Wei) became strained. Although the Zizhi Tongjian states that on a number of occasions generals like Tian Yu and Liang Xi defeated Kebineng, it is highly unlikely that Kebineng's clan was completely overwhelmed every time it engaged Han and Wei troops in battle.

On one occasion when Tian Yu went to besiege Kebineng's father-in-law for instance, Kebineng came to assist with tens of thousands of cavalry and would have defeated Tian Yu had he not been persuaded by his advisors and a diplomat named Yan Zhi to call for a cease-fire. The power of Kebineng's tribe did not significantly wane in any case until his death, but before Kebineng did die, he managed to initiate several devastating raids on Yu, Ping and Bing provinces. When Kebineng finally did meet his end, there was a period of relative peace between the Xianbei and China for several decades.

In fiction[edit]

In Luo Guanzhong's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Kebineng was an ally of Cao Wei against the rival state of Shu Han. Kebineng was a Xianbei chieftain bribed by Wei to assault Shu, but ended up fleeing when he learned that the Shu general Ma Chao was in command of the army dispatched to stop him. The reason it is believed he fled was because of Ma's reputation a great warrior among the Qiang people, who formed the bulk of Kebineng's unit.

See also[edit]