Cai Yan (蔡琰), style name: Wenji (文姬) and Zhaoji (昭姬), is a minor protagonist in the 14th-century Chinese classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by the late Luo Guanzhong, and its multiple adaptations. She is the daughter of Cai Yong and the wife of Dong Si, and a poet and musician who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. She spent part of her life as a captive of the Xiongnu, when the warlord Cao Cao, who controlled the Han central government in the final years of the Eastern Han dynasty, paid a heavy ransom to bring her back to Han territory.


Cai Wenji was born in the Prefecture of Yu. When she was only fifteen years old, she married Wei Zhongdao, who died shortly afterwards, leaving no offspring. After Dong Zhuo's murder caused Xiongnu nomads to arrive in the capital and Cai Wenji was a prisoner of the Xiongnu in northern China, until Cao Cao paid a huge sum for her release.

During her captivity she was the wife of Xiongnu chief Liu Bao with whom she had two children. He married again with the government official Dong Si. However, he was sentenced to death and Cai Wenji went to Cao Cao begging him to absolve her husband. Excited by his pleas, Cao Cao pardoned him. Later in her life, she wrote two poems describing her turbulent years.

Cao Cao is a friend of Cai Yong. He is sad that they have no heirs, so he gave the gold to the Xiongnu in exchange for Cai Wenji. She was repatriated and remarried to Dong Si. Cai Wenji is very smart and has musical talent. One night, she heard her father playing the instrument and a rope broke. Cai Wenji correctly said that it was the second string, and Cai Yong deliberately broke the other, this time is intentional. She is able to name the string again.


As a quiet advocate, Cai Wenji is a humble and selfless soul. She was deeply touched by the sorrow she saw, and she is empathetic with the tenacity and desire of others to bring hope to them.

But her bravery in battle is mainly for those who she thinks are not as lucky as her. In fact, she seriously doubts her strengths and fears to fight. In order to ease her pressure, Cai Wenji may create melody or poetry. Her art is an alternative to her inspiring courage and peace of mind for herself and others.

She is the filial daughter of a peace-loving father. Cai Wenji shared her father's feelings of avoiding unnecessary conflicts and protecting order. Her love for her father forced her to sympathize with Diao Chan, because the dancer sacrificed her personality for Wang Yun's plan.





  • She is playable character in the Dynasty Warriors video game series.


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