Pic: Zhuge Liang holding a fan and ill Liu Bei.
Their leader and later emperor was Liu Bei. He had many able men and generals under his command. But the 3 most important to him were his 2 blood brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei...and his prime minister Zhuge Liang.
The scene depicted here showed a dying Liu Bei entrustring his sons to the total care of Zhuge Liang.
Such was Liu Bei's devotion and high esteem for his beloved P M.
Below..I reproduced a portion from the famous book" Romance of The Three Kingdoms" describing this scene.
At the First Ruler's command the attendants raised Zhuge Liang from the earth. With one hand the dying man brushed away the falling tears, while with the other he grasped Zhuge Liang's hand.
61 And he said, "The end is near. I have something more to say as to a close general."
62 "What holy command has Your Majesty to give?" said Zhuge Liang.
63 The First Ruler said, "You are many times more clever than Cao Pi, and you must safeguard the kingdom and complete the great work. If my son can be helped, help him. But if he proves a fool, then take the throne yourself and be a ruler."
64 Such a speech almost startled Zhuge Liang out of his senses. A cold sweat broke out all over his body, and his limbs threatened to cease to support him.
65 He fell on his knees, saying, "I could never do otherwise than wear myself to the bone in the service of your son, whom I will serve till death."
66 He knocked his head upon the ground till blood ran down.
67 The dying man called Zhuge Liang closer, and at the same time making his two sons come near, he said to them, "My sons, remember your father's words. After my death you are to treat the Prime Minister as you would your father and be not remiss, for thereby you will fulfill your father's hopes."
68 He made the two Princes pay to Zhuge Liang the obeisance due to a father.
69 Said Zhuge Liang, "Were I destroyed and ground into the earth, I should be unable to repay the kindness I have experienced."
70 Turning to the assembled officers, the First Ruler said, "As you have seen, I have confided my orphan son to the care of the Prime Minister and bidden my sons treat him as a father. You too, Sirs, are to treat him with deference. This is my dying request and charge to you."
71 Turning to Zhao Zilong, he said, "You and I have gone together through many dangers and difficulties. Now comes the parting of our ways. You will not forget our old friendship, and you must see to it that my sons follow my precepts."
72 "I shall never dare to give other than my best," said Zhao Zilong. "The fidelity of the dog and horse is mine to give and shall be theirs."
73 Then the First Ruler turned to the others, "Noble Sirs, I am unable to speak to you one by one and lay a charge upon each individual. But I say to you: Maintain your self-respect."
74 These were his last words. He was sixty-three, and he died on the twenty-fourth day of the fourth month (AD 222). A poem was written by Du Fu on his death.