Chu Liuxiang

Last updated
Chu Liuxiang
Wuxia character
Created by Gu Long
In-universe information
SpouseZhang Jiejie
Chu Liuxiang
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 楚留香
Simplified Chinese 楚留香
Traditional Chinese 香帥
Simplified Chinese 香帅
Literal meaningChief Xiang
Traditional Chinese 盜帥
Simplified Chinese 盗帅
Literal meaningChief of Bandits/Thieves
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Sở Lưu Hương

Chu Liuxiang is the fictional protagonist of the wuxia novel series Chu Liuxiang Series by Taiwanese writer Gu Long. His given name "Liuxiang" literally means "lingering fragrance". Nicknamed "Dàoshuài" ("Bandit Chief") or "Xiāngshuài" ("Chief Xiang"), he steals from the rich to help the poor and upholds justice in the jianghu (martial artists' community).


Character description

Chu Liuxiang is a martial arts expert whose prowess in qinggong is one of the best – if not the best – in the jianghu (martial artists' community). He wields a metal hand fan as his weapon and uses it only for self-defence. Despite his superb combat skills and impressive qinggong, one of his definitive traits is that he has never killed a person in his whole life – not even an enemy. Usually, he relies on his wit, experience and calm to solve mysteries and overcome enemies who are far more powerful than him. The identity of his martial arts master is unknown, and even the well-informed Shuǐmǔ Yīnjī (水母陰姬) could only deduce that he is an apprentice of Yè Dì (夜帝), a character from Dàqí Yīngxióng Zhuàn, another of Gu Long's novels.[ citation needed ]

Although his age is not mentioned in any of the novels, Chu Liuxiang is probably around 30 years old when the events of the novels take place. In Biānfú Chuánqí, his childhood friend, Hú Tiěhuā (胡鐵花), is 33 years old. Chu Liuxiang is presumably around the same age as Hu Tiehua since they grew up together.

Chu Liuxiang lives on a houseboat, called "Xiang's Pavilion" (香榭; Xiāng xiè), with three young beauties. They are the closest people to him apart from his best friends, Hú Tiěhuā and Jī Bīngyàn (姬冰雁). They come from pitiful backgrounds and have been following Chu Liuxiang on his adventures since they were 11 or 12. The first, Sū Róngróng (蘇蓉蓉), is kind and understanding and specialises in the art of disguise. The second, Lǐ Hóngxiù (李紅袖), is very clear and alert and has a good memory. The third one, Sòng Tián-ěr (宋甜兒), is a good cook and is the most mischievous and adorable of the three. Chu Liuxiang also meets several other beautiful maidens on his adventures, such as Hēizhēnzhū (黑珍珠; 'Black Pearl'), Shí Xiùyún (石繡雲), Huà Zhēnzhēn (華真真), Dōng Sānniáng (東三娘) and Xīnyuè (新月; 'New Moon'). He eventually marries Zhāng Jiéjié (張潔潔), whom he meets in Táohuā Chuánqí.

A legendary and highly reputable figure in the jianghu, Chu Liuxiang has a wide network of friends, acquaintances and contacts. They include: Hú Tiěhuā, his childhood friend who has a penchant for alcoholic drinks; Jī Bīngyàn, who appears cold and indifferent but is actually very warm-hearted; Wúhuā (無花), a Buddhist monk who turns out to be a villain; Zhōngyuán Yīdiǎnhóng (中原一點紅; 'A Red Spot in the Central Plains '), a powerful swordsman and contract killer; Zuǒ Qīnghóu (左輕侯), the hospitable master of Cup-Throwing Manor; "Swift Net" Zhāng Sān ("快罔"張三), a marine expert and excellent chef of grilled fish.


Chu Liuxiang Series
Xuèhǎi Piāoxiāng
Dà Shāmò
Biānfú Chuánqí
Guǐliàn Xiáqíng
Táohuā Chuánqí
Xīnyuè Chuánqí
Wǔyè Lánhuā
Author Gu Long
Genre Wuxia, romance, adventure, mystery
Media typePrint

Chu Liuxiang Chuanqi

楚留香傳奇; Chǔ Líuxiāng Chuánqí; 'The Legend of Chu Liuxiang'

The three novels, Xuèhǎi Piāoxiāng, Dà Shāmò and Huàméiniǎo, form a story arc and are collectively known as Chu Liuxiang Chuanqi.

Xuèhǎi Piāoxiāng (血海飄香; 'Fragrance in the Sea of Blood')

Chu Liuxiang steals a rare flower from the imperial capital and brings it back to his boathouse. Feeling curious after seeing the corpses of several top martial artists in the jianghu (martial artists' community) drifting towards him, he decides to investigate their deaths. In the meantime, the Heaven's One Holy Water, a deadly potion from the Holy Water Palace (神水宮; shén shuǐ gōng), an all-female martial arts sect, is stolen. Chu Liuxiang immediately becomes the suspect because, given his prowess in qinggong and martial arts, he is the probably the only person capable of stealing something from the Holy Water Palace and getting away undetected. Faced with seemingly insurmountable odds and a pressing deadline, Chu Liuxiang manages to solve the mysteries and clear his name. His friend, Wuhua, turns out to be the mastermind behind everything. Chu Liuxiang confronts Wuhua and defeats him in a fight, after which Wuhua commits suicide by consuming poison.

Dà Shāmò (大沙漠; 'The Vast Desert')

Chu Liuxiang returns to his boathouse and discovers that Su Rongrong, Li Hongxiu and Song Tian'er have gone missing. The three maidens are among his closest companions, and he knows that they will not leave without notifying him. He travels a long journey in search of them and reaches the desert, where he meets his friends, Hu Tiehua and Ji Bingyan. Through a series of adventures and strange encounters, Chu Liuxiang learns that a mysterious villainess, Shíguānyīn (石觀音), is the mastermind behind a sinister plot. One of her accomplices is Wuhua, who has actually survived after attempting suicide. Chu Liuxiang foils Shiguanyin's plot, defeats her in combat, and she commits suicide. Even after everything is over, Chu Liuxiang has not found the three missing girls yet.

Huàméiniǎo (畫眉鳥; 'The Thrush ')

Chu Liuxiang has a series of encounters with Lǐ Yùhán (李玉函) and his wife, Liǔ Wúméi (柳無眉), who is a former apprentice of Shiguanyin. He also gets into conflict with Shuimu Yinji, the mistress of the Holy Water Palace, and engages her in a dramatic one-on-one fight that shocks the entire jianghu. He eventually emerges victorious, exposes an evil scheme by Li Yuhan and Liu Wumei, and rescues the three missing maidens.

Chu Liuxiang Xinzhuan

楚留香新傳; Chǔ Líuxiāng Xīnzhuàn; 'The New Legend of Chu Liuxiang'

The five novels, Biānfú Chuánqí, Guǐliàn Xiáqíng, Táohuā Chuánqí, Xīnyuè Chuánqí and Wǔyè Lánhuā, are collectively known as Chu Liuxiang Xinzhuan.

Biānfú Chuánqí (蝙蝠傳奇; 'The Legend of the Bat')

There is a strange island called Bat Island, which is rumoured to contain numerous treasures and luxuries. The island is actually a secret trading post for black market items in the jianghu, such as exclusive martial arts manuals. From time to time, the island's master, nicknamed "Bat Gongzi" (蝙蝠公子; Biānfú Gōngzǐ), will send exclusive invitations to selected guests to visit and trade on the island. Trade deals are done inside a dark cave to maintain secrecy.
Through a series of serendipitous events, Chu Liuxiang and his friends Hu Tiehua and Zhang San make their way to Bat Island with other companions. Along the way, some of their companions are mysteriously murdered. Chu Liuxiang also encounters Yuán Suíyún (原隨雲), a blind but powerful martial artist from a reputable family. Eventually, on the island, they uncover a sinister plot by "Bat Gongzi", who turns out to be the alter ego of Yuan Suiyun. At the critical moment, Jīn Língzhī (金靈芝), Yuan Suiyun's girlfriend who has secretly fallen in love with Hu Tiehua, saves everyone by setting up a plan to stop Yuan Suiyun.

Guǐliàn Xiáqíng (鬼戀俠情; 'Phantom Love and Heroic Romance'); alternatively known as Guǐliàn Chuánqí (鬼戀傳奇; 'Legend of Phantom Love') and Jièshī Huánhún (借屍還魂; 'Borrowing a Corpse to Return a Soul to Life')

Zuo Qinghou is a famous martial artist in the Jiangnan region and the master of Cup-Throwing Manor (擲杯山莊; Zhìbēi Shānzhuāng). His beloved daughter, Zuǒ Míngzhū (左明珠), dies after contracting a strange disease. In the meantime, another young maiden, Shī Yīn (施茵), also dies from illness. At the moment of Shi Yin's death, Zuo Mingzhu suddenly returns to life and claims she is Shi Yin. It seems as if Shi Yin's spirit has possessed Zuo Mingzhu's body. Zuo Qinghou gets his close friend, Chu Liuxiang, to help him resolve the bizarre case.
Through his calm and wit, Chu Liuxiang gradually unravels the mystery and learns that it is tied to two pairs of star-crossed lovers. On one hand, Zuo Mingzhu is in love with Xuē Bīn (薛斌), but they can never be together because the Zuo and Xue families have a long history of bad blood. On the other hand, Shi Yin is in love with Yè Shènglán (葉勝蘭) but her parents have arranged for her to marry Xue Bin. Thus, both sides came up with an elaborate plan to trick their parents: Shi Yin fakes her death so that she can elope with Ye Shenglan; Zuo Mingzhu pretends to be possessed by Shi Yin's spirit so that she can marry Xue Bin. After uncovering the truth, Chu Liuxiang helps the two pairs of lovers get together and gives them his blessings.

Táohuā Chuánqí (桃花傳奇; 'The Legend of the Peach Blossom')

In the jianghu, there is a mysterious clan of unknown origin who practise a strange religion. In every generation, a girl will be chosen from within the clan to serve as their Sacred Maiden, who must then take a vow of celibacy. The mother of the girl who has been selected to be the Sacred Maiden does not want her daughter to spend the rest of her life in solitude. She notices Chu Liuxiang and thinks he might be an ideal spouse for her daughter, so she sets up an elaborate plan to lure him into taking a series of challenges to assess his suitability. The story ends with a cliffhanger that resembles the famous paradox in the English short story The Lady, or the Tiger? .

Xīnyuè Chuánqí (新月傳奇; 'The Legend of the New Moon')

The people living in the coastal areas are under constant threat from raids by pirates. The government enlists the help of a martial arts sect, Jade Sword Manor (玉劍山莊; Yùjiàn Shānzhuāng), to deal with the pirates. The elimination of the pirates, however, pave the way for the rise of a formidable pirate king, Shǐ Tiānwáng (史天王, who becomes the new threat on the seas and in the jianghu. He is not only powerful in martial arts, but also extremely elusive and unpredictable. For example, he has six decoys to help him mask his true identity.
"Mister Du" (杜先生), the mysterious female leader of Jade Sword Manor, comes up with a plan to eliminate Shi Tianwang. She asks the government to bestow the title of a princess on her daughter, Xinyue ("New Moon"), and pretends to offer her daughter's hand-in-marriage to the pirate king to appease him. Xinyue, now known as "Princess Jade Sword" (玉劍公主; Yùjiàn Gōngzhǔ), will then find an opportunity to assassinate him.
By chance, Chu Liuxiang meets Xinyue's biological father, Jiāo Lín (焦林), who seeks his help in finding his long-lost daughter. However, things become complicated when he learns that "Mister Du" has recruited his best friend, Hu Tiehua, to help her escort Xinyue safely to the pirate king. As news of the planned marriage spread like wildfire throughout the jianghu, more parties get involved. Chu Liuxiang encounters Ishida Hitoshihiko-Saemon (石田齋彥左衛門), a Japanese ninja master seeking vengeance on Shi Tianwang for stealing his concubine, Bàojī (豹姬). At the same time, Baoji, fearing that she will fall out of Shi Tianwang's favour after he marries Xinyue, has sent her assassins to kill Xinyue.
Although Chu Liuxiang starts a romance with Xinyue, who also pledges her love to him, she eventually marries Shi Tianwang. On their wedding night, she successfully distinguishes the real Shi Tianwang from his six decoys and assassinates him, thus completing her mission and restoring peace to the jianghu.

Wǔyè Lánhuā (午夜蘭花; 'The Midnight Orchid')

There are rumours in the jianghu that Chu Liuxiang is dead. A mysterious "Mister Orchid" (蘭花先生) believes Chu Liuxiang is still alive so he/she sets up an elaborate plot to lure him out of hiding.



YearProductionMain castAdditional information
1977 Shaw Brothers Studio
(Hong Kong)
Ti Lung, Ling Yun, Elliot Ngok, Nora Miao, Li Ching, Betty PeiSee Clans of Intrigue [1]
1978 Ti Lung, Ling Yun, Elliot Ngok, Derek Yee, Ching Li, Wong Chung, Candice Yu See Legend of the Bat [2]
1979Tung Hai Film Company
Tien Peng, Ling Yun, Doris Chen, Wen Chiang-lungSee The Legend of Broken Sword [3]
1980Bao Lung Motion Pictures Production
Liu Dekai, Sun Chia-lin, Chou Ming-huiSee Chu Liu Xiang Chuan Qi [4]
Liu Dekai, James Tien, Li Chien-ping, Sun Chia-linSee Chu Liu Hsiang and Hu Tieh Hua [5]
TaiwanMeng FeiSee Everlasting Chivalry [6]
Meng Fei, Ling Yun, Wang Kuan-hsiung, Shih FengSee The Sun Moon Legend [7]
Ling Yun, Tin Hok, Doris Lung, Betty Pei, Cheng Hsi-keng, Wang HsiehSee Middle Kingdom's Mark of Blood [8]
1982Shaw Brothers Studio
(Hong Kong)
Ti Lung, Ling Yun, Elliot Ngok, Nora Miao, Li Ching, Betty PeiSee Perils of the Sentimental Swordsman [9]
Taiwan Angie Chiu, Chung Yan, Ng Man-tat, Ha Yu, Ko Miu-see, Liao An-li, Meng Fei, David Chiang See Dan Zhi Shen Gong [10]
1983 Adam Cheng, Brigitte Lin See Demon Fighter [11]
Adam Cheng, Lui Ying-ying, Norman Chu, Luk Yat-lung, Tin Hok, Luk Yee-fung, Chow Ming-hui, Chow Shui-fongSee The Denouncement of Chu Liu Hsiang [12]
1993Hong Kong Aaron Kwok, Anita Yuen, Deric Wan, Sharla Cheung, Fennie Yuen, Chingmy Yau, Norman Chu, Lau Tsi-wai, Gloria Yip, Winnie Lau, Loretta Lee See Legend of the Liquid Sword [13]


YearProductionMain castAdditional information
1979 TVB (Hong Kong) Adam Cheng, Liza Wang, Angie Chiu See Chor Lau-heung (1979 TV series)
RTV (Hong Kong)Pat Poon, Kenneth Tsang, Paul Chun, Alex Man, Bonnie Ngai, Law Lok-lam, Mary Cheung, Man Man-yee, Wen Hsueh-erh, Yuen Pui-jan, Miu Kam-fung, Chan Yuen-mei, Yung Wai-man, Nancy Sit, Choi King-faiSee It Takes a Thief (1979 TV series)
1984TVB (Hong Kong) Michael Miu, Barbara Yung, Mini Kung, Sharon Yeung, Simon Yam, Lau Dan, Cecilia Fong, Cheung Ying-choi, Kwok Fung, Lee Heung-kam, Benz Hui, Ng Man-tat, Kwan Hoi-san See The New Adventures of Chor Lau-heung (1984 TV series)
1985 CTV (Taiwan) Adam Cheng, Michelle Yim, Eddy Ko, Li Hai-hsing, Chen Mei-chun, Chiang Jung-li, Huang Hui-wen, Ching Li, Chiang Hou-jen, Mei Chang-fen, Lu Hsiao-huangSee Chor Lau-heung (1985 TV series)
1995 TTV (Taiwan) Adam Cheng, Cynthia Khan, Shen Meng-sheng, Hsia Kuang-li, Chen Ya-lan, Kang Kai, Ling Mei-chen, Chang Hsin-yueh, Huang Hsiao-chingSee Chor Lau-heung (1995 TV series)
2000Taiwan Vincent Chiao, Yang Junjun, Liu Dekai, Bryan Leung, Yen Shi-kwanA Taiwanese television series loosely adapted from the Chu Liuxiang Series as a spin-off series of sorts. Its Chinese title is 西門無恨.
2001TVB (Hong Kong),
CTS (Taiwan)
Richie Ren, Ruby Lin, Dicky Cheung, Eric Suen, Ekin Cheng, Gigi Lai, Anita Yuen See The New Adventures of Chor Lau-heung (2001 TV series)
2007Mainland China Ken Chu, Hu Jing, Sun Feifei, Liu Jia, Cui Peng, Benny Chan, Choo Ja-hyun, Stephanie Hsiao, Kingone Wang, Sammul Chan, Mu TingtingSee The Legend of Chu Liuxiang (2007 TV series)
2012Mainland China Ken Chang, Louis Fan, Xia Qing, Jin Qiaoqiao, Li Xin, Shi Lan, Shu Yaoxuan, Dai Chunrong, Zhao Yue, Tong FanSee The Legend of Chu Liuxiang (2012 TV series)

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