Wooden ox

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Wooden ox replica in the Ancient Chariot Museum in Zibo, China

The wooden ox (木牛流馬; lit. wooden ox and flowing horse) was created by Zhuge Liang while he served Shu Han. It was a thought to be either

  • a mechanical, walking replica of an ox whose main purpose was to carry supplies such as grain to an army that was running low on supplies


  • a sort of wheelbarrow that had 2 booms on which it was pulled (this was later reversed with the "gliding horse").[1]

Two meanings[edit]

The making of the "wooden oxen and flowing horses" in an illustrated version of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Ox replica[edit]

The correct English name should be "wooden galloper with a free-standing cargo box" since said device walks in a gallop form. It was equipped with two handles to make it walk by manpower. The swing cargo box is used to store useless work caused by the up-and-down motion of the walking machine. When the cargo box swung forward, the walking machine steps forward at the same time to raise efficiency. This invention was specifically mentioned in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Records of Three Kingdoms, Book of Qi, and some other works from the Song Dynasty.

Pulled wheelbarrow[edit]

The "pulled wheelbarrow" understanding of the wooden ox was noted in the book "The Seventy Great Inventions of the Ancient World by Brian M. Fagan", and was thought to be similar to the rickshaw. This would make better sense, because the wheelbarrow could have been a development flowing forth from the chariot.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Seventy Great Inventions of the Ancient World by Brian M. Fagan Wooden ox resembling a rickshaw

External links[edit]