|For the organization named after the rings, see Ten Rings|
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Thousands of years ago, Xu Wenwu discovered the rings, which granted him immense power and immortality. Wenwu used this power to amass an army of warriors called the Ten Rings, and conquer many kingdoms and topple governments throughout history. Over the centuries the tale of how and where Wenwu found the rings changed until no one but Wenwu himself knew where the rings came from, however not even Wenwu knew who created the rings.
When Xu Wenwu was searching for Ta Lo, he came across its guardian Ying Li. In their fight, it was more a dance where she was able to deflect the rings and momentarily change their nature before redirecting them back to Wenwu. Where he hit a tree and into a little pond and she disappeared and he had fallen for the only person to beat him.
Wenwu's Peaceful Life
Following his defeat, Wenwu chose to continue to visit Ying Li, and the two struck up a romance. The two chose to be together, and Wenwu chose to dismantle the Ten Rings as well as choosing to cease using the rings, while the couple lived a happy family life, with their two children, Shang-Chi and Xu Xialing. However, when Li was murdered by the Iron Gang, looking for revenge, in his grief, Wenwu once again took up the rings.
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Studied by Wong
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The Rings grant their user enhanced strength and longevity, emit concussive energy blasts, and can be telepathically controlled as projectiles. The enhanced strength granted by the rings is proportional to how many rings the users is wearing at once, Wenwu typically kept 5 rings on each arm to evenly distribute their strength enhancement but could double the power of his punches by moving all rings to a single arm, Shang-Chi similarly wore the rings on his leg to enhance the strength of his kicks. A strike from a single ring was shown to be strong enough to kill a regular person.
When thrown as projectiles the rings can return themselves to their user. While floating in the air after being thrown the rings emit a magic energy field that the user can manipulate at will, Wenwu demonstrated the ability to use that energy field as a barrier by spinning the rings around himself at high speed, while he and Shang-Chi used the energy field to use the rings as a whip. The rings stop the user's aging as long as they're worn, allowing Wenwu to live for well over a thousand years while still looking like a middle-aged man, however the rings do not grant true immortality as they cannot protect the user from fatal injuries or supernatural causes of death as seen when Wenwu's soul was being extracted by the Dweller-in-Darkness.
The rings seem to have a degree of intelligence and self-awareness, likewise they appear to react to beings with abilities inherited from the Great Protector. Both Ying-Li and Shang-Chi were able to take control of the rings away from Wenwu when they battled him, when used by them the rings' energy color changes from blue to golden. Shang-Chi initially only took 5 rings from Wenwu, with the other 5 rings willingly choosing to leave Wenwu and side with Shang-Chi after the two wrestled their rings colliding their energy fields. Once Shang-Chi obtained all 10 rings at once they demonstrated new abilities when used in conjunction with the abilities granted by The Great Protector. Shang-Chi used the rings to project an energy blast that was powerful enough to kill the Dweller-in-Darkness with a single blow, the energy released from the attack was powerful enough to be detected by the Masters of the Mystic Arts.
After being analyzed by Wong, he determined that the rings started emitting a beacon to an unknown being after Shang-Chi used them to kill the Dweller-in-Darkness.
- In the comics, the rings are piece of Makluan technology containing the soul of a powerful cosmic warrior. When the Makluan explorer Axonn-Karr crashed on Valley of the Spirits, the Mandarin killed him and acquired the rings.
- In most other interpretations of the character, the Mandarin's rings go on each of his ten fingers, as opposed to being on his wrists. The Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of the rings are similar to Hung Gar Iron Rings, which are used in martial arts for training and combat.
- When Mandarin uses his rings they are blue and channel electricity, but when Ying Li or Shang-Chi uses them they are golden and produce a fire-like stream. This probably represents their different natures.