Cards 2020

The theme of 2020 is Beijing opera face paintings, featuring both historical and fictional characters. I imagine what if these people lived in 2020. Who would they be in year 2020?

曹操 / Cao Cao



Cao Cao (c. 155 – 220), courtesy name Mengde, was a warlord and the penultimate Chancellor of the Eastern Han dynasty who rose to great power in the final years of the dynasty. As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid the foundations for what was to become the state of Cao Wei and ultimately the Jin dynasty, and was posthumously honoured as "Emperor Wu of Wei". He is often portrayed as a cruel and merciless tyrant in subsequent literature; however, he has also been praised as a brilliant ruler and military genius who treated his subordinates like his family.

During the fall of the Eastern Han dynasty, Cao Cao was able to secure the most populated and prosperous cities of the central plains and northern China. Cao Cao had much success as the Han chancellor, but his handling of the Han Emperor Xian was heavily criticised and resulted in a continued and then escalated civil war. Opposition directly gathered around warlords Liu Bei and Sun Quan, whom Cao Cao was unable to quell.

Cao Cao was also skilled in poetry, calligraphy and martial arts and wrote many war journals.

Cao Cao in 2020 is a finance mogul.

程咬金 / Cheng Yaojin



Cheng Zhijie (589 – 665), courtesy name Yizhen, better known by his original name Cheng Yaojin, was a Chinese general who served under the emperors Gaozu, Taizong and Gaozong in the early Tang dynasty. His portrait was on display in Lingyan Pavilion along with those of another 23 officials who rendered meritorious service to the Tang Empire during the reign of Emperor Taizong.

Cheng Yaojin is often depicted in Chinese folklore and popular culture as a somewhat inept and bumbling warrior who sometimes shows up at the right place and right time to save the day. The popular Chinese saying "Cheng Yaojin shows up suddenly along the way" is used to describe a situation where someone shows up unexpectedly and disrupts a plan. It is also used to describe an unwelcome busybody who shows up where he is not wanted.

Chen Yaojin of 2020 is a secondary school master of discipline.

陈奇 / Chen Qi



Chen Qi is a character from 《Creation of the Gods》, a 16th century Chinese novel. It is also a character in the Peking opera performance 《Gate of the Blue Dragon》, based on a story from the novel. His special power is spewing a yellow vapor which disables his enemies.

Chen Qi of 2020 is a city council mosquito control expert.

胡理 / Hu Li



A character from the play 《Ba Luo Reconciliation》, a shopkeeper who helps to make peace between the Ba and the Luo families. The story of 《Ba Luo Reconciliation》 originates from 《Green Peony Chronicles》.

Hu Li of 2020 is a hostage negotiator.

李克用 / Li Keyong



Li Keyong (856 – 908 AD) was a Shatuo military governor (Jiedushi) during the late Tang Dynasty and was key to developing a base of power for the Shatuo people in what is today Shanxi Province in China. His son, Li Cunxu (Emperor Zhuangzong) would eventually become the founder of the Later Tang, arguably the first of many Conquest Dynasties in China.

Li Keyong in 2020 is a mainframe programmer.

孙悟空 / Sun Wukong





The Monkey King, known as Sun Wukong in Chinese, is a legendary figure best known as one of the main characters in the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West and many later stories and adaptations. The Monkey King's origins predate the novel and can be traced back to the Song dynasty. In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he later accompanies the monk Tang Sanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from the West (India) where Buddha and his followers reside.

The Monkey King possesses immense strength; he is able to lift his 13,500 jīn or 7960 kg staff with ease. He is also extremely fast, able to travel 108,000 li (21,675 kilometres) in one somersault. Sun also knows the 72 Earthly transformations, which allow him to transform into various animals and objects. Sun Wukong is a skilled fighter, capable of defeating the best warriors of heaven. His hair possesses magical properties, capable of summoning clones of the Monkey King himself, and/or into various weapons, animals, and other objects. He has demonstrated partial weather manipulation abilities as well, and is able to freeze living creatures and even gods with his icy breath.

Sun Wukong of 2020 is an ex-convict priest.

项羽 / Xiang Yu






Xiang Yu (232–202 BC), born Xiang Ji, was the Ba Wang or Hegemon-King of Western Chu during the Chu–Han Contention period (206–202 BC) of China. A noble of Xiaxiang (present-day Suqian, Jiangsu), Xiang Yu rebelled against the Qin dynasty and became a prominent warlord. He was granted the title of "Duke of Lu" by King Huai II of the restoring Chu state in 208 BC. The following year, he led the Chu forces to victory at the Battle of Julu against the Qin armies led by Zhang Han. After the fall of Qin, Xiang Yu was enthroned as the "Hegemon-King of Western Chu" and ruled a vast area of land covering parts of present-day Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan and Jiangsu, with Pengcheng (present-day Xuzhou, Jiangsu) as his capital. He engaged Liu Bang, the founding emperor of the Han dynasty, in a long struggle for power, known as the Chu–Han Contention, which concluded with his eventual defeat at the Battle of Gaixia. He committed suicide at the bank of the Wu River.

Xiang Yu of 2020 is a celebrity Youtuber.

张飞 / Zhang Fei




Zhang Fei (died 221 AD), courtesy name Yide, was a military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty and early Three Kingdoms period of China. Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, who were among the earliest to join Liu Bei, shared a brotherly relationship with their lord and accompanied him on most of his early exploits. Zhang Fei fought in various battles on Liu Bei's side, including the Red Cliffs campaign (208–209), takeover of Yi Province (212–214), and Hanzhong Campaign (217–218). He was assassinated by his subordinates in 221 after serving for only a few months in the state of Shu Han, which was founded by Liu Bei earlier that year.

Zhang Fei is one of the major characters in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which dramatises and romanticises the events before and during the Three Kingdoms period. In the novel, Zhang Fei became sworn brothers with Liu Bei and Guan Yu in the fictional Oath of the Peach Garden at the start of the novel and remained faithful to their oath until his death.

Zhang Fei in 2020 is a gym personal trainer.