A Qing dynasty block print of Da Qiao and Xiao Qiao
|Relatives||Xiao Qiao (sister)|
|Relatives||Da Qiao (sister)|
|Literal meaning||Older Qiao|
|Literal meaning||Younger Qiao|
The Qiao sisters' names were not recorded in history, so in later times they are simply referred to as Da Qiao (literally "older Qiao") and Xiao Qiao (literally "younger Qiao"). They were from Wan County (皖縣), Lujiang Commandery (廬江郡), which is in present-day Anqing, Anhui. Da Qiao married the warlord Sun Ce, who established the foundation of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period; Xiao Qiao married Zhou Yu, a general who served under Sun Ce and later under his successor Sun Quan. Sun Ce jokingly told Zhou Yu: "Elder Qiao and his two daughters have been roaming around, so I am sure now he is glad to have us as his sons-in-law."
The Qiao sisters are featured as characters in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which romanticises the historical events before and during the Three Kingdoms period. In the novel, the Chinese character for "Qiao" in their names, 橋/桥, is replaced with 喬/乔.
In the novel, the Qiao sisters are the daughters of a certain Qiao Guolao (喬國老; literally "State Elder Qiao"), possibly referring to Qiao Xuan. Zhou Yu's biography in the third-century historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms did not mention the name of the Qiao sisters' father, who was simply referred to as Qiao Gong (橋公; literally "Elder Qiao" or "Lord Qiao"). Historically, Qiao Xuan died in 184, while the Qiao sisters married Sun Ce and Zhou Yu around 199, so it was not possible that Qiao Xuan was still living when the marriages took place. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Qiao Xuan was the "Qiao Gong" mentioned in Zhou Yu's biography.
In Chapter 44 of the novel, Zhuge Liang tells Zhou Yu that Cao Cao's desire to have the Two Qiaos for himself is evident in "Ode to the Bronze Sparrow Platform" (銅雀臺賦), a poem written by Cao Cao's son Cao Zhi. An enraged Zhou Yu then hardens his decision to convince Sun Quan to ally with Liu Bei against Cao Cao. (See List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Zhuge Liang's mission to Jiangdong for details.)
The Qiao sisters are featured as playable characters in Koei's Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi video game series. The anime Koihime Musō and Ikki Tousen make references to Da Qiao and Xiao Qiao as well, in which they are known by their respective names in Japanese – Daikyō and Shōkyō.
Taiwanese supermodel Lin Chi-ling starred as Xiao Qiao in the 2008 Chinese epic war film Red Cliff directed by John Woo. In the film, it is surmised that Cao Cao's infatuation with Xiao Qiao is the reason why he invaded Sun Quan's lands and initiated the battle. Chinese actress Huang Yi portrayed Xiao Qiao in Just Another Pandora's Box, a spoof of Red Cliff.
Chinese actresses Liu Jing and Zhao Ke portrayed Da Qiao and Xiao Qiao respectively in the 2010 Chinese television series Three Kingdoms.