Ten Brothers

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Ten Brothers (Chinese: 十兄弟; pinyin: Shí Xiōngdì) is a Chinese legend known to be written around the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644). It has been told and spun off in various adaptations and remains popular since it is one of the oldest Chinese legends to feature characters in a superhero fashion.


The more modern version of the story has a couple swallow ten pearls and give birth to ten brothers. Each one of the ten brothers possesses a different supernatural power, though they develop their powers as the story progresses. At the end, the brothers battle some form of an antagonist and they only win when working in unity. However, if the ten brothers come into contact with limestone, their powers disappear and they become helpless.[1]


The number of brothers varies among Chinese ethnicities. The Yi people have nine brothers, the Zhuang people have eight brothers, the Han people have five brothers and the Li people have 10 brothers.[2]

  • 1st and Oldest Brother - Capable of seeing miles away with his binocular eyes, sometimes identified as Mazu's guardian Qianliyan[3]
  • 2nd Brother - Capable of hearing miles away, sometimes identified as Mazu's guardian Shunfeng'er[3]
  • 3rd Brother - Has Herculean strength.
  • 4th Brother - Has ability to stretch and is invincible.
  • 5th Brother - Capable of flying.
  • 6th Brother - Has a solid impenetrable head and is the smartest.
  • 7th Brother - Can grow in height.
  • 8th Brother - Capable of tunneling underground.
  • 9th Brother - Has a huge mouth that can blow wind and shout loudly.
  • 10th and Youngest Brother - Can cry a river; also can heal any illnesses if he cries on people.


The story has been adapted many times in Asian movies and TV series, most notably in China and Hong Kong.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 2, 2007. Retrieved January 27, 2007. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)[self-published source?]
  2. ^ 君島 久子「王さまと九人の兄弟」の世界 ; ISBN 4000223992[page needed]
  3. ^ a b Sam, Chris W.C; et al. (28 September 2008), "The Goddess of the Sea and Her Guardians", The Macau Daily Times, Macao: Macau Times Publications.
  4. ^ "Ten Brothers (1959)". FilmAffinity.com. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  5. ^ "The Ten Brothers Vs. the Sea Monster (1960)". Hkmdb.com. 1960-02-25. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  6. ^ "Ten Brothers (1995)". Hkmdb.com. 1995-12-23. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 9, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]