The Red Eyebrows

The Red Eyebrows were the first of very many Chinese secret societies that are now known as Triads. Triad was merely the name given to them by the British in Hong Kong in reference to the triangular shape of the Chinese character for ‘secret society’.

They were a group of peasants who formed themselves into a revolutionary band during the unrest and civil war which followed the floods and famines between 2 and 11 AD. They called themselves Chi Mei (Red Eyebrows) because they painted their eyebrows red to seem fiercer to their opponents, because demons were supposed to have red eyelids. Their leader spoke to them through mediums. In 23 AD they overthrew Wang Mang, whom they considered a usurper to the throne.

They were eventually destroyed by a crafty general who ordered his troops to paint their eyebrows red too. The rebel band were confused, then annihilated.