The Chines Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( continiu )

THE ART MOTIF OF CHINA IMPERIAL CERAMIC FOUND IN INDONESIA

PART THREE

PART III. STUDIES RESULTS

 

By

Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

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  THE UNIVERSAL DOOR OF GUANSHI YIN BODHISATTVA
(THE BODHISATTVA WHO CONTEMPLATES THE SOUNDS OF THE WORLD)

 
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The Chinese large Bronze seated bodhisattva Pu Hsien is the personification of love, virtue, and patience. The bodhisattva holding a lotus flower is shown seated sideways on a recumbent elephant on a oval lotus base. It dates to mid 20th century. Size: 31 ¼” high x 22 ½” wide x 13″ deep (79.4 x 57.2 x 33 cm)

 

AT THAT TIME Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, placed his palms together, and facing the Buddha, said, “World Honored One, for what reason is the Bodhisattva Guanshiyin called ‘Guanshiyin’?”
The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, “Good man, if any of the limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of living beings who are undergoing all kinds of suffering hear of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and recite his name single-mindedly, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will immediately hear their voices and rescue them.
“If a person who upholds the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva enters a great fire, the fire will not burn him, all because of this Bodliisattva’s awesome spiritual power.
“If a person being tossed about in the great sea calls out the Bodhisattva’s name, he will find a shallow place.
“If the hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of beings who seek gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, carnelian, coral, amber, pearls, and so forth enter the great sea, an evil wind may toss their boats into the territory of the rakshasa ghosts. But if among them there is even one person who calls out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will all be saved from the difficulty of the rakshasas. For this reason, he is called Guanshiyin.
“Further, if a person who is about to be harmed calls out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, the knives and staves of the attackers will break into pieces and he will be saved.
“If yakshas and rakshasas enough to fill the three thousand great thousand world system come to torment a person, if they hear him call out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, all those evil ghosts will not even be able to stare at that person with their evil eyes, how much the less harm him.
“If a person, whether guilty or not, who has been put in stocks or bound with chains calls out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, his fetters will break apart and he will immediately be freed.

“If bandits enough to fill the three thousand great thousand world system infest a dangerous road on which a merchant chief in charge of costly jewels is leading a group of merchants, but among the merchants there is even a single person who says, ‘Good men, do not be afraid! You should all single-mindedly recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. This Bodhisattva bestows fearlessness upon living beings. If you recite his name, you shall surely be saved from these robbers,’ and if upon hearing that, the merchants all cry out together, ‘Namo Guanshiyin Bodhisattva,’ then they will immediately be saved because they recited his name.
“Inexhaustible Intention! The awesome spiritual power of the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Guanshiyin is as lofty and sublime as that!
“If living beings who have much sexual desire constantly and reverently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be separated from desire.
“If those who have much hatred constantly and reverently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be separated from hatred.
“If those who are very stupid constantly and reverently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be separated from stupidity.
“Inexhaustible Intention, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has great awesome spiritual powers such as these and confers great benefits. Therefore living beings should always be mindful of him.
“If women who seek sons bow and make offerings to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will give birth to blessed, virtuous, and wise sons. If they seek daughters, they will give birth to upright and handsome daughters who have planted roots of virtue in previous lives and who are regarded and respected by all.
“Inexhaustible Intention! Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has powers such as these. If there are living beings who reverently bow to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be blessed and their efforts will not be in vain.
“Therefore living beings should all receive and uphold the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva.

“Inexhaustible Intention! If a person were to receive and uphold the names of Bodhisattvas in number as the grains of sand in sixty-two kotis of Ganges Rivers, and in addition were to exhaustively make offerings to them of food, drink, clothing, bedding, and medicine, what do you think—would that good man’s or good woman’s merit and virtue be great or not?”

 
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva replied, “Very great, World Honored One.”
The Buddha said, “If another person were to receive and uphold the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and bow and make offerings but once, that person’s blessings would be equal to and not different from the other person’s. They could not be exhausted in hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of eons.
“Inexhaustible Intention, one who receives and upholds the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva obtains the benefit of blessings and virtues as limitless and boundless as those.”
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, how does Guanshiyin Bodhisattva roam through this Saha world? How does he speak the Dharma for living beings? How does he carry out this work with the power of expedients?”
The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, “Good man, if living beings in this land must be saved by means of someone in the body of a Buddha, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will manifest it the body of a Buddha and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Pratyekabuddha, he will manifest in the body of a Pratyekabuddha and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Hearer, he will manifest in the body of a Hearer and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the Brahma King, he will manifest in the body of the Brahma King and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of Shakra, he will manifest in the body of Shakra and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a great heavenly general, he will manifest in the body of a great heavenly general and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of Vaishravana, he will manifest in the body of Vaishravana and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minor king, he will manifest in the body of a minor king and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of an Elder, he will manifest in the body of an Elder and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a layman, he will manifest in the body of a layman and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minister of state, he will manifest in the body of a minister of state and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Brahman, he will manifest in the body of a Brahman and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika, he will manifest in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the wife of an Elder, of a layman, of a minister of state, or of a Brahman, he will manifest in a wife’s body and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a pure youth or a pure maiden, he will manifest in the body of a pure youth or pure maiden and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a heavenly dragon, yaksha, gandharva, asura, garuda, kinnara, mahoraga, human, or nonhuman, and so forth, he will manifest in such a body and speak Dharma for them.


“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Vajra-wielding spirit, he will manifest in the body of a Vajra-wielding spirit and speak Dharma for them.

“Inexhaustible Intention! Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has accomplished merit and virtue such as this and, in all manner of forms, roams throughout the land, saving and liberating living beings.


“Therefore you should all single-mindedly make offerings to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva Mahasattva can, in the midst of fear, crisis, and hardship, bestow fearlessness. That is why in this Saha world all call him the “Bestower of Fearlessness.”


Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I shall now make an offering to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva.” He then removed his necklace of pearls, its value in the hundreds of thousands of ounces of gold, and offered it to the Bodhisattva, saying, “Humane One, accept this Dharma offering, this necklace of precious pearls.”


Guanshiyin Bodhisattva refused to accept it.
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva again said to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, “Humane One, out of pity for us, accept this necklace.”
The Buddha then told Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, “You should take pity on Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva and the fourfold assembly, as well as the gods, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, nonhumans, and so forth, and accept this necklace.”
Then, out of pity for the fourfold assembly, the gods, dragons, humans, nonhumans, and so forth, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva accepted the necklace. He divided it into two parts: one part he offered to Shakyamuni Buddha and the other to the stupa of Many Jewels Buddha.
“Inexhaustible Intention, such is the self-mastery and spiritual power of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, who roams throughout the Saha world.”
At that time, Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva used verses to ask this question:

World Honored One, complete with wondrous marks,
I now ask again,
Why is this disciple of the Buddha Called Guanshiyin?

The Honored One of Perfect, Wondrous Marks,
With verses answered Inexhaustible Intention:
Listen to the practice of Guanyin,
Who skillfully responds in all places.

With vast vows, as deep as the sea,
Throughout inconceivable eons,
He has served many thousands of
kotis of Buddhas,
And has made great, pure vows.

I shall now tell you in brief,
That for those who hear his name or see him,
And who are mindful of his name unceasingly,
He can extinguish the suffering of all realms of existence.

If someone is the victim of another’s harmful intent,
And is pushed into a pit of fire,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The pit of fire will turn into a pool.
If someone is being tossed about in the great sea,
And is surrounded by the dangers of dragons, fish, and ghosts,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The waves will not drown him.

If someone is on the peak of Mount Sumeru,
And another person tries to push him off,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
He will stand firm as the sun in space.

If someone is pursued by evil people,
Who want to throw him off a VajraMountain,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
Not a single hair on his body will be harmed.

If someone is surrounded by vicious bandits,
Who threaten him with knives,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The bandits will all give rise to compassion.

If someone is in trouble with the law,
And on the verge of being executed,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The knives will break into pieces.

If someone is imprisoned, shackled, or chained,
Or if his hands and feet are in stocks,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
His bonds will open and he will be free.

If someone is about to be harmed,

By mantras, spells, or poison,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The harm will all return to the sender.

If someone meets with evil rakshasas,
Poisonous dragons, or ghosts,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
They will then not dare to harm him.

If someone is surrounded by vicious beasts,
With fearsome fangs and claws,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The beasts will quickly run far away.

Poisonous snakes and scorpions,
Have blazing lethal vapors,
But if one evokes the strength of Guanyin,
At the sound of one’s voice, they will disperse.

Clouds of roaring thunder and lightning
May send down hail or great floods of rain,
But if one evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The clouds will immediately scatter.

Living beings are beset with hardships,
And oppressed by limitless sufferings.
The power of Guanyin’s wondrous wisdom
Can rescue the world from suffering.

Complete with the power of spiritual penetrations,
Vastly cultivating wisdom and expedient means,
Going throughout countries in the ten directions,
He manifests everywhere in all places.

The various evil destinies,
Those of the hells, ghosts, and animals,
And the pain of birth, old age, sickness, and death
Are all gradually wiped away.

True Contemplator, Pure Contemplator,
Contemplator with Vast, Great Wisdom,
Compassionate Contemplator, Kind Contemplator,
May we constantly behold you with reverence!

Undefiled pure light,
The sun of wisdom that breaks through the darkness

Is able to quell calamities of wind and fire
As it shines on all worlds.

Compassionate substance: the thunder of precepts.
Kind intent: a wondrous great cloud.
He rains down sweet dew and Dharma rain,
Which extinguish the flames of affliction.

In the midst of contention, when faced with lawsuits,
Or when someone is terrified on the battlefield,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
All his many enemies will scatter and leave.
Wondrous your sound, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds
A pure sound, a sound like the sea tide,
A sound beyond all worldly sounds,
We shall always bear it in mind.

In thought after thought we have no doubt:
Guanshiyin is pure and sagely.
In times of suffering, agony, danger, and death,
He is our refuge and protector.

Complete with all merit and virtue,
His kind eyes watching living beings,
He is endowed with massive blessings, limitless as the sea.
Therefore we should reverently worship him.

At that time the Bodhisattva Guardian of the Earth rose from his seat and said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, if there are those who hear this chapter of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, who learn about the self-mastery of his deeds and the power of his spiritual penetrations as shown in this Universal Door, you should know that the merit and virtue of such people will not be small.”

When the Buddha had spoken the “Universal Door Chapter,” eighty-four thousand living beings in the assembly all brought forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Today there are three celebrations observed by both Taoist and Buddhist that her birthday was on the nineteenth day of the second lunar month, the date of her achievement of immortality was the nineteenth day of the sixth lunar month and date of her attaining enlightenment (Nirvana) was the nineteenth day of the ninth lunar month.   

 

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Jiang Tai Gong, ( Jiang Tai Gong, 姜 太 公 )

The God in Charge of Granting Titles to Gods

 

Life History of Real Jiang Taigong

Jiang Taigong, native of Donghai in Zhou Dynasty, was said to be a descendant of Emperor Yandi of remote ages. One of his forefathers had been a holding high position during the reign of Emperor Shun. Later, because of his achievement in helping Yu the Great to harness rivers, he was granted the fief of Lu (west of today’s Nanyang City in Henan Province) and addressed as Marquis of Lu. Jiang Taigong was also called Lu Shang or Lu Wang. To show him respect, later generations called him Jiang Ziya. In ancient times “zi” was an honorific title for men.

King Wen way on the journey to seek talents and met Jiang ZIya by chance. Jiang Ziya was a learned man and always wanted an opportunity to put his talents into practice. However under the reign of King Zhou, the last ruler of Shang Dynasty, he was unable to serve him as King Zhou was a tyrant.

Most of his life was spent in obscurity and poverty. He only was able to use his abilities when he was seventy years old. Jiang had heard that King Wen, chief of Zhou clan in the late Shang dynasty, was amiable and easy to approach, respecting the elder and loving children, placing those able and virtuous people in important positions. Thus Jiang moved to Wenshui. Building a hut near Panxi, he made a living by fishing, while waiting for the important post to be conferred by King Wen that would enable him to use his wisdom in assisting King Wen. Despite waiting for the wise ruler for a long time, Jiang hair turned grey and his hope seems futile.  However as destined one day he heard the sound of horses and people’s voices coming from afar. A delicate featured man dressed up as a King approached him. When told the distinguished visitor was the King Wen of Zhou, who was eagerly seeking talents, he felt very happy and finally was appointed the Prime Minister!

He carried out political and military reforms. Domestically, he emphasizes on developing production; externally, he deployed forces to conquer small neighboring clans to expand territories and weaken the Shang Dynasty.  
With his assistance King Wen defeated Quanrong, conquered Shang Dynasty’s Chongguo, and moved the capital from Qishan to Fengcheng. The territory of Zhou gradually increase and stretched from Mi (today’s Lingtai in Gansu Province) in the west of Yu (Around todays Qinyang County in Henan Province) in the east. Then Zhou territory further expanded to the valley of Yangtze, Hanshui and Rushui rivers. Its political, economic and military strength greatly surpassed the Shang Dynasty, paving the way for the founding of the Zhou Dynasty.

Unfortunately, King Wen died before he fulfilled his ambition of overthrowing the Shang. His son Ji Fa, historically known as King Wu, succeeded to the throne.    
With the assistance of Jiang, he sent troops to fight King Zhou of Shang, and carried out his father’s plan to establish the Zhou Dynasty. The regime is called Western Zhou in history. Due to his merits in overthrowing the Shang Dynasty, Jiang was granted the area of Qi (the central and eastern parts of today’s Shandong Province) as his fief, and regarded as the founder of Qi.

Jiang Taigong in Legend 

There are numerous legend about Jiang Taigong. One account said that his parents died when he was a child and he followed his aunt to Zhaoge, the capital of Shang. At the age of twelve he started working as a butcher because his aunt’s  family needed his help. But he failed at his job and wandered away from Zhaoge, until he met King Wen and found success.

One legend said Jiang fished for three days and three nights without catching anything. Later someone taught him the way of angling. Following the advice, Jiang finally caught a carp. Upon opening it’s belly, he found a cloth roll with characters reading “Lu Wang (namely Jiang Taigong) will be granted the area of Qi as his fief”.

Based on another legend King Wen dreamed of the Heavenly Emperor calling him “Chang (King Wen was named Ji Chang), I am going to grant you a good mentor and assistant. His name is Wang”. He then saw Jiang taigong beside the Heavenly Emperor. It was the same night Jiang Taigong had the same dream. Soon afterwards when meeting Jiang, King Wen asked. “Is Wang your name?”
“Yes,” replied Jiang, smiling. “It seems that I had seen you somewhere,” said King Wen. After Jiang told him the exact date he had the same dream with King Wen, he took Jiang and offered him an important position.

This legend is the most popular among all. Jiang Taigong was originally a famous general of King Wen and a respected figure. He was even believed ton have become a supernatural being. So anyone who wants to drive evil spirits out of his house would put on the wall a poster with characters reading. “Jiang Taigong is here. All evil spirits keep off.”

Jiang Taigong is depicted as an elderly man with white beard and hair, dressed up in imperial robe, one hand holding a flag (flag denotes his power to control or dispatch armies) and the other hand holds a sword.

Jiang Taigong famous quote, ”Jiang Taigong is here. Other gods withdraw and keep off”. Thus declared Jiang Taigong at a platform after he granted titles to other gods. “Since I had offered a title to them, I should at least place myself above them”, he declared.

From then onwards, when people were building a new house, they would paste up a banner reading “Jiang Taigong is here, hundred affairs are not forbidden as taboo”, (姜太公在此, 百事無禁忌) this would prevent evil spirits from occupying the building.

 

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Taoist Master Zhang, ( Zhang Tian Shi, 張 天 師)

 

Master Zhang, whose full name was Zhang Ling, or Zhang DaoLing (34-156), was the founder of the Five Pecks of Rice Sect of Taoism during the Eastern Han Dynasty.  A native of Fengxian County, Jiangsu Province, he studied in the Imperial College and well versed in the Five Classics. He practiced meditation in Heming Mountain in today’s Dayi County, Sichuan Province in the reign of Emperor Shundi (r.125-144). In 141, he wrote twenty-four Taoist texts and institutionalized Taoism, which was called the Five Pecks of Rice Sect, calling himself Occult Master of Great Purity. Its believers had to pay five pecks of rice as contribution to support his institution. It emphasized repenting one’s mistakes and have faith in Taoists canons. It propagated its doctrine by praying and drawing charms, and gave treatment with blessed holy water or incantations.

Legends of Master Zhang

Many legends are told about him. One said that Zhang DaoLing was the eight descendants of Zhang Liang, a high official of the Han Dynasty, he was a tall man, with extraordinary appearance characterized by full forehead, red hair, green eyes, straight nose and square mouth, bushy eyebrows and big ears. All this features, plus his beard, gave the impression that he looked like an immortal priest. In the tenth year of the Jianwu period under the reign of the Emperor Guangwu of the Eastern Han Dynasty, he was born in the Tianmu Mountain.

Before he was born his mother dreamed about a tall immortal wearing a gold crown and embroidered robe descending from the Big Dipper to her room. He gave her a scented plant, and suddenly vanished. She awakened to find her quilt, clothes and the entire room was lingered with an extraordinary fragrance that last for a month. Then she became pregnant. On the day when she was in labour, the courtyards was permeated in colored clouds, and the room was bright with red beams. The fragrance again fills the air. Daoling was able to walk as soon as he was born.

He was extremely intelligent as he had knowledge and can memorize the entire Dao De Jing, astronomy, geography and mystic diagrams at the age of seven. He passed the second degree Imperial examination, as became the magistrate of Jingzhou. Albeit an official he was determined to practice meditation. Before long he tender his resignation and lived in seclusion in Beimang Mountain. It was said that one day a white tiger bought scriptures in it’s mouth to him. Emperor He Di appointed him as Imperial tutor to the crown prince, and conferred on him the title Marquis of Jixian. He was invited to take up the official position, three times, but he always refused. In A.D. 90, he went to Long He Mountain in Jiangxi Province where he tried alchemy – to make pills of Immortality and delivered sermons for about thirty years, his disciples totaling more than three thousand.   

Master Zhang was well known for curing people with Talismans, blessed holy water, and delivered people from danger and disaster.

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The Queen of Heaven (天 后 聖 母, Tian Hou Sheng Mu)


The Queen of Heaven is also known Ma Zu. Originally named Lin Muo Niang; was born in 960 AD, on the 23rd day of the 3rd month in the Song Dynasty. She was born in a village along PuTian, Fujian’s Province.

Based on the book “Gods of Ancient China”, the day she was born, the land was covered by a purple streak, perfumed scent filled every household, and a golden halo appeared above the Lin house, within which emitted a red glow. One month after her birth she had not cried. So her parents called her Lin Muo Niang (Muo is the Chinese character meaning silence).

She was very filial to her parents, intelligent and loved to help people in adversity. She was a good swimmer and had gone fishing since childhood with her elder brother. She often rowed a boat during a vicious storm to save people in distress at the risk of her life. Her heroic deeds gained attention far and wide.

Ten centuries ago on a stormy day she came to aid an overturned merchant ship. She managed to rescue only nine of the ten people on board. The one left was tossed away by a huge wave. Disregarding her own safety, she swam and managed to save the last victim, however she herself drowned due to exhaustion.

Reluctant to accept that she had died, people preferred to assume that she had become a goddess. According to the legend, somebody saw the Goddess in imperial garments soared to the Heavens. To commemorate her people of Pu Tian, her hometown, built a temple dedicated to her.

After her death, the Goddess was said to become more miraculous. On one occasion, a violent storm was raging over the seas and overturned a few fishing boats. All the fishermen fell into the sea. At that moment a streak of light was seen among the dark clouds, the Goddess was seen descending from Heaven, she then miraculously set all the overturned boats and pulled the fishermen into the boats. And then suddenly the wind subsided, the waves calmed down and the sky cleared. All the people were saved.

Emperor of various dynasties glamorized the Goddess. During a period of eight hundred years, on forty occasions they granted her titles which, when placed together, ran to sixty Chinese characters, including “State Protecting Sage”, “Protector of the State and People” and “Goddess of Heaven”.    

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The Supreme Lord of the Dark Heaven

( 玄 天 上 帝, Xuan Tian Shang Ti )   

 

Xuan Tian Shang Ti, was originally a butcher, he had killed a lot as days passed he felt remorse for his sins and repents by giving up butchery and retired to a remote mountain for cultivation of the Tao. One day while he was assisting a woman in labor, while cleaning the woman’s blood stained clothes along a river, the words “Xuan Tian Shang Di” (玄 天 上 帝) appeared before him. The woman in labor turns out to be Guan Yin manifestation. To redeem his sins, he dug out his own stomach and intestines and washes it in the river. The river turns into dark murky water then after a while it changes the water into clear pure water.
Unfortunately he loses the stomach and intestines while he was washing it in the river. The Jade Emperor was moved by his sincerity and determination to clear his sins; hence he became an Immortal known as “Xuan Tian Shang Ti”.

After he becomes an immortal his stomach and intestines after absorbing the world essences it was transformed into a demonic turtle and snake harming people. No one could subdue them. Eventually Xuan Tian Shang Ti returns back to earth to subdue them and use them as his transportation or disciples.

Xuan Tian Shang Ti is portrayed as a warrior in imperial robes, the left hand holds the “three mountain mudra” while the right hand holds a prominent sword. He is usually seated on a throne with the right stepping on the snake and left leg extended stepping on the turtle. His face is red with long flowing black beards, looks very stern with bulging pair of eyes. His birthday is celebrated on the third day of third lunar month.

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Imperial Sovereign Wen Chang

( 文 昌 帝 君, Wen Chang Di Jun )

                                                   

The popular Chinese Taoist god of literature and writing, invoked by scholars to assists them in their works. He is especially venerated by people who require help with their entrance examinations for an official career.
In reality, Wen-chang is a constellation of six stars in the vicinity of the Great Bear. It is said that when these stars are bright, literature flourishes. He visits the Earth frequently in human shape. Taoists texts mention seventeen separate existences of the stellar deity on Earth
 

In addition to the ancestors of whose worship it really consists, Taoism has in its pantheon the specialized gods worshipped by the scholars. The chief of these is Wen Chang, the God of Literature. The account of him (which varies in several particulars in different Chinese works) relates that he was a man by the name of Chang Ya, who was born during the T’ang dynasty in the kingdom of Yeh (now known as ZheJiang Province), and went to live at Tzŭ T’ung in Szechuan, where his intelligence raised him to the position of President of the Board of Ceremonies. Another account refers to him as Chang Ya Tzŭ, the Soul or Spirit of Tzŭ T’ung, and states that he held office in the Chin dynasty (A.D. 265–316), and was killed in a fight. Another again states that under the Sung dynasty (A.D. Page 105960–1280), in the third year (A.D. 1000) of the reign-period Hsien P’ing of the Emperor Chun Tsung, he repressed the revolt of Wang Chun at Ch’ing Tu in Szechuan. General Lei Yu-chung caused to be shot into the besieged town arrows to which notices were attached inviting the inhabitants to surrender. Suddenly a man mounted a ladder, and pointing to the rebels cried in a loud voice: “The Spirit of Tzŭ T’ung has sent me to inform you that the town will fall into the hands of the enemy on the twentieth day of the ninth moon, and not a single person will escape death.” Attempts to strike down this prophet of evil were in vain, for he had already disappeared. The town was captured on the day indicated. The general, as a reward, caused the temple of Tzŭ T’ung’s Spirit to be repaired, and sacrifices offered to it.
 

The object of worship nowadays in the temples dedicated to Wen Chang is Tzŭ T’ung Ti Chun, the God of Tzŭ T’ung. Various emperors at various times bestowed upon Wen Chang honorific titles, until ultimately, in the Yuan, or Mongol, dynasty, in the reign Yen Yu, in A.D. 1314, the title was conferred on him of Supporter of the Yuan Dynasty, Diffuser of Renovating Influences, Ssŭ-lu of Wen Chang, God and Lord. He was thus apotheosized, and took his place among the gods of China.
 

Thus the God of Literature, Wen Chang Di Jun, duly installed in the Chinese pantheon, and sacrifices were offered to him in the temples dedicated to him. But scholars, especially those about to enter for the public competitive examinations, worshipped as the God of Literature, or as his palace or abode (Wen Chang), the star K’uei in the Great Bear, or Dipper, or Bushel—the latter name derived from its resemblance in shape to the measure used by the Chinese and called tou. The term K’uei was more generally applied to the four stars forming the body or square part of the Dipper, the three forming the tail or handle being called Shao or Piao. How all this came about is the next story.
 

A scholar, as famous for his literary skill as his facial deformities, had been admitted as first academician at the metropolitan examinations. It was the custom that the Emperor should give with his own hand a rose of gold to the fortunate candidate. This scholar, whose name was Chung K’uei, presented himself according to custom to receive the reward which was rightfully due to him. At the sight of his repulsive face the Emperor refused the golden rose. In despair the miserable rejected one went and threw himself into the sea. At the moment when he was being choked by the waters a mysterious fish or monster called ao raised him on its back and brought him to the surface. K’uei ascended to Heaven and became arbiter of the destinies of men of letters. His abode was said to be the star K’uei, a name given by the Chinese to the sixteen stars of the constellation or ‘mansion’ of Andromeda and Pisces. The scholars quite soon began to worship K’uei as the God of Literature, and to represent it on a column in the temples. Then sacrifices were offered to it. This star or constellation was regarded as the palace of the god. The legend gave rise to an expression frequently used in Chinese of one who comes out first in an examination, namely, tu chan ao, “to stand alone on the sea-monster’s head.” It is especially to be noted that though the two K’ue’s have the same sound they are represented by different characters, and that the two constellations are not the same, but are situated in widely different parts of the heavens.
 

Images of Wen Chang portray him as an official or as a scholar. He is always seen holding an auspicious scepter “Ru Yi” or a register book. Usually accompanied by his two faithful attendants, namely Tien Lung (Deaf Celestial) and Di Ya (Mute Terrestial). His birthday is celebrated on the third day of second lunar month.   

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The Door Gods ( 門 神, Men Shen )

 

The Door gods are the earliest gods worshipped by the Chinese. They are regarded as the Spiritual Guardians of the Entrance. An altar is usually placed besides the entrance, where offerings are given daily.  
According to the legend the Door gods were formerly imperial generals, Qin Shu Bao and Wei Chi Gong. They were both assigned to protect Emperor Tai Zong ( 太 宗 皇 帝 ) , from ghosts and demons during the Tang dynasty.  It was believed that the Emperor had nightmares whenever he sleeps during the night. He would always be pursuit by ghosts or demons in his dream, it could be his karma manifesting to him as he had killed numerous people before he was enthroned as the Emperor. His siblings were also killed.

Whenever the two generals stood guard outside his room entrance, he would be able to sleep soundly without any nightmares. It was believed that ghosts and demons dare not enter the emperor’s room whenever the two generals are present.

As the two generals are mortals, the Emperor Tai Zhong feared that the generals would suffer from fatigue having to keep watch over him every night. Hence, he ordered portraits of the imperial generals to be hung on each side of the door.

They wear warrior robes, have gentle dispositions and are usually shown as standing. Qin Shu Bao holds a slender club, whereas Wei Chi Gong holds a mace.

The portraits of the Door Gods are usually changed just before Chinese New Year. Worn out portraits does not have the ability to keep away evil spirits and to protect the house. 

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The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven

(九 天 玄 女, Jiu Tian Xuan Nu )

 

The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven is a female deity. She had been the teacher of the ancient Yellow Emperor. When the Yellow Emperor had been fighting the rebel Ch`i You, the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven descended and bestowed the Yellow Emperor with the military register for dispatching, with a seal and sword. She made a drum that was made out of cow skin with eighty sides, which the Yellow Emperor used to defeat Ch`i You.

During the period of spring and autumn, the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven transformed herself into the Jade Lady of Nan Shan. She helped the Yueh State send a punitive expedition against the Wu State, and taught the army to be equipped with six thousand highly qualified soldiers. Afterwards, she departed without bidding farewell, and soared to the sky. On the Nan Shan mountain, the king of the Yueh State built a temple in commemoration of her. The temple is named the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven.

The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven has a disciple whose name was Pai-Yun Tong-chun. He received all the dharma-methods from the Mysterious Lady, and later was able to be elevated to heaven to be in charge of the Taoist books that belong to the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven.

She is depicted as a fair rosy complexion lady, usually brandishing a sword in her right hand while the left hand holds a gourd. The Taoist gourd is a symbol of immortality, healing (contains golden elixir), longevity and good fortune.

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The Great Spirits of The Earth

(福 德 正 神, Fu De Zheng Shen)

 

The great spirits of the earth possess great spiritual powers that not many spirits can match! Why! There is several aspect of the earth; it is wide and extensive, it supports and nourishes all living beings, it receives the great rain, it produces grass and trees, it holds all planted seeds, it produces medicines, it is impartial and it holds many treasures.
  

All the lands through out the world receives his protection; all the grasses, woods, stones, sands, paddy fields, hemp, bamboo, reeds, grains, rice, gems, and oil come forth from the ground because of his power. He can even prevent plagues ghosts from spreading epidemics; furthermore he’s the greatest wealth deity on earth! The image on the left is the sculpture of the great spirits of the earth. He’s always depicted as an elderly man with a white beard usually smiling and maintaining a benevolent expression. He holds an auspicious wish fulfilling object called “Ru Yi” 「如意」.While the other hand on the right holds several gold ingots.  He is also called “The Upright Spirit of Fortune and Wealth” (福德正神) when worshipped in temples and homes; while in a cemetery, he is called “Hou Tu” (后土)

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The Thunder God ( 雷 公, Lei Gong )

 

It is believed that a bolt of lightning erupting in the midst of the dark universe disrupts the primordial chaos. Hence at the beginning of time, chaos is altered into order by lightning. Thunder and lightning are worshipped by the primitive because it is one of the greatest forces in the Universe that is feared by man.

In mythology, the Thunder god is in charge of thunder. He is portrayed as having a green face and body, he resemble a bird like creature his face has a beak. Holds a hammer and chisel, when struck together lightning bolts are released.
He could punish on behalf of Heaven, could strike a vicious person, such as unfillial sons or daughter, able to distinguish between good and evil, and uphold justice.  In Buddhism he is a Dharma protector.

It is believed his feature derives from the Garuda, a mystical bird-like creature who was the messenger or vehicle of the Hindu god Lord Vishnu. He bears a close resemblance to the Garuda as expounded in Hindu text and Buddhist sutra’s as one of the “Eight class of mystical beings” (天 龍 八 部, Tian Long Ba Bu ).

The Garuda is the arch enemy of the snake, dragon or “naga”, which he feeds on them. Historically, from classical Indian mythology, Garuda is the king of birds.
Slightly fierce, with one face in the form of an eagle, round eyes and a curved beak, Adorned with gold necklaces and bracelets, the lower body is covered with feathers and large wings are unfurled behind. Standing on legs of two talons above coiled snake.

If you were to make a comparative study of the features of the Thunder god and Garuda based on these pictures, you will discover that there is a close resemblance in terms of the features.

                                    Lord Vishnu and the Garuda

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Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva ( Di Zang Wang Pu Sa, 地 藏 王 普 薩 )

                                   

 

Di Zhang may be represented in sitting or standing posture. He always has a kind and benevolent feature and carries either, or both, his symbols of the Cintamani or “Wish-fulfilling Jewel’ and the “Ringed-Staff”, which is also called the Khakkhara. This ringed staff is often carried by Buddhist monks in their travels so that the sounds caused by the jingling rings can warn small animals and insects of their approach lest they be trod upon and killed. It is also sometimes called the alarm-staff.

In the much treasured picture of Di Zhang Pu Sa, which is found in many Buddhist homes and temples, he is seen seated upon a lotus throne. His hands holds the precious flaming pearl which has vast magical powers beyond description. He wears the robe of a Northern Buddhist monk and on his head is the “Five-leaves crown, where the representation of a Dhyani-Buddha can be seen on each of the leaves”.
 

Whenever you have the urge to pray to this Bodhisattva for any help, visualize him a few seconds as you silently recite, “NAMO DI ZHANG WANG PUSA” . Di Zhang Pu Sa is very responsive to sincere prayers of faith and he may yet grant you your wish, if it is not too unselfish or unreasonable. All may pray to him with this simple invocation and, due to, your past karmic links with him may yet make you into another ardent Ti Tsang devotee again in this lifetime.

The standing posture of Di Zhang is particularly popular in Japan where he is known as Jizo Bosatsu. It represents the readiness of Jizo to respond immediately to the calls of help made by those who have faith in his saving powers. Standing upon a lotus, he holds his precious flaming jewel with his left hand while the ringed staff is held with the right, ever ready to force open the gates of Hell with the staff and to dispel the darkness of the infernal realm with his luminous gem.

Di Zhang is at times depicted accompanied by a dog, which also has a significant meaning. On the death of his mother, the Bodhisattva, not as “Sacred Girl’, hastened into the underworld with the view of comforting her and to seek favorable treatment for her. However, he could not find her but later discovered that she had already taken rebirth as a female dog. Upon his return to earth Di Zhang soon traced and adopted the animal, which then became his companion on his pilgrimages.
Another popular depiction of him is in this standing or ‘activity-form’ which has his left hand holding an alms bowl against his navel, while his right hand forms the mudra (hand-sign) of “giving consolation and peace to all living beings”.

Di Zhang Pu Sa has many emanations and he has manifested in countless forms to save beings at different times and places. In the Chinese Buddhist Pantheon his is the only figure in the form of a monk. This is to indicate that Mahayana Buddhism is suitable for both the monks and the laity.
Di Zhang’s compassion is not practiced exclusively for the benefit of the beings of the hell realm, he also gives blessings to those of the world who seek his help and he is a comforter of the poor, oppressed, sick, hungry, and those who are troubled by spirits and nightmares. Those who have firm faith in him can easily receive his protection. With faith one needs to recite any of these simple prayers:
“NAMO DI ZHANG WANG P’USA’ or
“NAMO KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA”.

Images of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are recognized by the symbols that they are associated with. Each of these symbols has a particular meaning which most people are unaware of. For example, the KHAKKHARA, or Ringed Staff, which Di Zhang holds, is not only meant to warn small and crawling creatures of his approach so as to avoid stepping on them but also to inform people of his presence through the jingling caused by the rings. Often a traveling monk on a pilgrimage has to stop at homes to seek alms and since he does not wish to speak unnecessarily, he usually announces his arrival by shaking his sounding staff.

The Khakkhara is often a wooden staff capped with metal loops or crotchets and rings, which are four, six or twelve in number. The Four-ringed staff is carried by a monk who has perceived the Four Noble Truths of Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the Cessation of Suffering, and the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering. The Six-ringed staff belongs to a Bodhisattva who is constantly practicing the Six Paramitas, while the Twelve-ringed staff is held by a Pratyeka Buddha who has realized the Twelve-fold Links of Causation.

As a result of Di Zhang P’usa having made this promise to Sakyamuni Buddha: “I will fulfill your instructions to continue to relieve beings from their states of suffering and lead them to Salvation. I shall strive to work hard until the next Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, comes to the world “. He is also adored as the “Master of the Six Worlds of Desire,” thus there are depictions of him being surrounded by a Bodhisattva, an Asura, a Man, an Animal (horse or ox), a Preta, and a Demon holding a pitchfork, which symbolizes the six different forms he assumes in the six realms to save the beings there.

In the Chapter 12: The Benefits of Seeing and Hearing of the Di Zhang Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha gave this advice for the benefit of all human beings:
“Listen to me carefully and I shall tell you in detail. If virtuous ones of the future see the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s image, hear the Ksitigarbha Sutra, recite this Sutra, make offerings to Ksitigrabha, pay homage to him, they will receive these benefits:

1. They will be protected by devas and dragons.
2. Their ability to do good will be increased.
3. Opportunities for doing good will increase.
4. They will strive to attain Buddhahood.
5. They will enjoy sufficiency of food and clothing.
6. They will be free from diseases.
7. Floods and fire will not affect them.
8. Robbers will not trouble them.
9. They will be respected and admired by people.
10. Spirits and devas will protect and assist them.
11. Females shall be reborn as males.
12. The females will become daughters of noble and exalted families.
13. They will be reborn with good complexion.
14. They will be reborn in the heavens for many lives.
15. They will be reborn as kings or rulers of countries.
16. They will have wisdom to recollect their past lives.
17. They will be successful in all their aspirations.
18. They will enjoy happy family relationships.
19. Disasters will not affect them.
20. Their bad karma will be removed.
21. Wherever they go, they are safe.
22. They shall always have peaceful dreams.
23. Their deceased relatives shall be free from sufferings.
24. They will be reborn with happiness.
25. They will be praised by divine beings.
26. They will be intelligent and skilful.
27. They will have compassion for others.
28. They will finally attain Buddhahood.

The birthday of Di Zhang Pu Sa falls on the 30th day of the 7th moon of the Chinese lunar calendar. All over the world Buddhist temples offer prayers to Di Zhang Pu Sa during the 7th lunar month for the benefit of the dead.
Di Zhang’s popularity among the Chinese and Japanese Buddhists is second only to Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa as he takes upon himself the fearful and difficult task of bringing relief and consolation to the suffering beings of hell.

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Liu Ren Xian Shi (六壬仙師 ).

 

A renowned Taoist master during the Tang dynasty originates from ChangAn Province China. His actual name is Lee Shun Feng (李淳風). This Taoist Sect is also known as Shun Feng Tao (淳風道) named after the founder of this Sect. At a young age he had learning disabilities, both his parents were very concern. They invited a Taoist master to view his physiognomy.

Physiognomy, which claims to find correspondences between bodily features and psychological characteristics, often makes use of such supposed similarities. The Taoist master revealed that based on the physiognomy of the child, his learning disabilities are only temporarily. He has the features of a great sage and shall lead living beings to salvations.

After the Taoist master gave the prediction, later at the age of six he can master all the Chinese classics, literatures and even memorize every single word after reading once! He was so brilliant that not anyone can match him at that age. Due to his past karma or affinity with the Taoist master he met him again at the age of twelve and requested the Taoist master to take him as a disciple. However the Taoist master refused as he was told to fulfill his obligations to his parents. In China we place great emphasis in filial piety and repaying the kindness of parents. The Taoist master promised him that when the time is ripe he shall appear again to offer him the discipleship. He didn’t have to wait long as both his parents deceased when he was nineteenth years old.
 

He followed the Taoist Master and learned Taoist alchemy, spiritual cultivations, meditations, divination, and art of war. With the wisdom and power he possessed he begins helping numerous people, everywhere relieving them of their hardship and suffering. Her was later canonized as a deity and the founder of Taoist sect Shun Feng Tao ( 淳 風 道 ).

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Lord Guan Ti ( 關 帝 聖 君 )

Zhou Chang ( 周 倉 )              Guan Ti ( 關 帝 )                  Guan Ping ( 關 平 )

 

Guan Ti or Guan Yun Chang was born in Shan Xi province during the Three Kingdom (220 – 260 AD). He led a simple life and made his living as a young man by selling bean-curds, thus he is worship by bean-curd sellers as their patron god today. He has an excellent memory power that he had the ability to recite word for word the entire Classics after reading it for once.
 

Therefore students taking examinations usually pray to him to bless them success. He is also worshipped as the God of Literature by scholars. Some idols of Guan Ti can be found seated while holding a book.

He was known for his righteous, and justice which got Guan Yu into trouble when he interfered with a licentious and corrupt magistrate who forced a poor lady to become his concubine. The magistrate was slayed by Guan Yu. He had to flee for his life and escape to the mountain to seek refuge. As he was on his journey to the neighboring province he stops by a stream to have a wash; when to his surprise he noticed a great changed in his appearance! His facial complexion had changed from pale white to reddish tint which saved him to disguise himself and was able to walk through the sentries who was guarding the mountain pass.

When he reached Chu-Chou of the Szechuan Province he be, befriends Zhang Fei and Liu Bei who shared his noble ideals and virtues. They took the oath of brotherhood in a peach orchard, and sworn as “brothers”. Chang Fei was a butcher, became the youngest brother. He was a man of fiery temper who had an unyielding sense of justice and was well known for his immense appetite both for food and adventure. He had a black face which was full of whiskers and his formidable height of seven feet tall; very few would dare cross his path. His great love and loyalty to Guan Yu has won him a place of honor he is always seen standing beside Kuan Yu in all depictions.

Liu Bei, the elder brother who came from a distinguished but impoverished family with imperial linkage, was known to be a man of honor.  Guan Yu, a powerful figure of more than eight feet tall, possessed an enigmatic personality and integrity that won him respect of all whom he met.

Together the three sworn brothers set out and became involved in military pursuits, They displayed great military prowess and fought many battles which is recorded in details in the famous novels of “The Three Kingdoms”.  Based on the recorded history of his life Guan Yu had many occasions display his nobility, uprightness, integrity, loyalty and bravery. Despite living at a time of great distress and chaos during the Han Dynasty, he would never be tempted to acquire wealth, fame and power as he remain faithful to his oath that he had taken with his brothers at the peach orchard; “ To be loyal to each other in life and united in death”.

In the year 219 A.D. he was captured by Sun Chuan and executed. It was recorded that on the night of his death, his spirit appeared before a Buddhist monk, to seek refuge to the Buddha dharma. Based on a Buddhist account, Guan Yu manifest before the Tripitaka Master Chi Tsai, the founder of Tien Tai Buddhism, with a retinue of spiritual beings. After receiving the teachings Guan Yu requested the Five precepts and took refuge in the Buddha dharma. He vowed that he would be a dharma protector to the Buddha Dharma. Hence, his idol is usually found in the hall of most Buddhist temples. He had earned his place in both the Taoist and Buddhist  pantheon of deities. 

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Goddess of the Northern Star

( Dou Mu Yuan Jun, 斗 母 元 君 ) 

Goddess of the Northern Star ( 斗 母 元 君 ) 

Tou Mu, the Bushel Mother, or Goddess of the North Star, are worshipped by both Buddhists and Taoists. From a Taoist perspective she is a stellar divinity, her full name being Jiu Lin Tai Miao Bai Yu Gui Tai Zu Guang Jin Jing Zu Mu Yuan Jun (九 靈 太 妙 白 玉 貴 台 祖 光 金 精 祖 母 元 君 ). She is also called Du Mu Yuan Jun ( 斗 母 元 君 ).

As told in the scriptures, Madame Zi Guang went to the imperial garden for sight seeing. She was captivated by the hot spring water next to the lotus pool and took a bath there, miraculously nine lotus buds appeared and after a while the lotus blossomed and came out nine infants. After these nine children grown up, the eldest son Gou Cheng Xing ( 勾 城 星 ) became one of the heavenly gods, named North Star (Zi Wei Da Di, 紫 微 大 帝 ). The rest of the brothers were Tang Lang ( 貪 狼 ), Ju Men ( 巨门 ), Lu Cun ( 路存),  Wen Qu ( 文 曲 ), Lian Zhen         ( 廉 貞 ), Wu Qu ( 武 曲 ) and Po Jun ( 破 君 ) are the group of stars known as the Big Dipper Seven Stars.

After giving birth to nine sons Madame Zi Guang was honoured with the title Big Dipper True Holy Virtue Heavenly Queen ( 北 斗 九 真 聖 德 天 后 ).

There is another legend that states The King of Chou Yue, in the north, married her on hearing of her many virtues. They had nine sons. Yuan-shih T’ien Jun        ( 元 始 天 君 ) came to earth to invite her, her husband, and nine sons to enjoy the delights of Heaven.

The Big Dipper Seven Stars are in charge of the fate of human and earthly fate in the universe. Every star controls the earthly fate for a period of 20 years. The division of 3 yuan and 9 yun (三 云 九 運 ) of Feng shui originated from this theory.

For these who offend the Grand Duke or Tai Sui ( 太 歲 ) for the year of the Dog 2006, should pray to Tai Sui. However there is another alternative besides praying to Tai Sui, you can also pray to Goddess of the Northern Star or Dou Mu to relieve you of any difficulty, danger and bad luck. Those affected sign are Ox, Ram, Dog, Rat, Dragon and Monkey for this year 2006.

The reason is because the Goddess of the Northern Star is the mother of Nine Stars her power is inconceivable as she oversee the welfare of all beings.

She is depicted with 3 eyes on her forehead, 4 heads on shoulders, a head with 4 faces, 8 arms 2 palms clasp together, the other 6 arms holding a sun, moon, precious bell, bow and arrow, a seal of authority and halberd.  She bears a close resemblance to the Buddhist deity Marichi, Goddess of Dawn. Her features and the dharma implements she’s holding are almost identical.

Marichi, Goddess of the Dawn

 

Marichi, (Tibetan Buddhism : o zer chen ma, English: the One Having Light Rays), Goddess of the Dawn. Marichi is a red-coloured female yidam associated with the sun and with dawn.

Her mantra is traditionally used as protection by travelers. She has three faces, eight arms and two legs. She holds the powerful Tantric tools (in her right hands) of vajra (at the heart in the mudra of teaching), the vajra ax, the arrow, the mudra of generosity (holding a sewing needle. In her left hands: the mudra of teaching hold the stem of a healing plant, a bow, a thread, and loop with hook drawn along by seven white boars.

The goddess Marichi is the manifestation of the twenty-one forms of Tara and has the special power to avert bandits, robbers, and thieves. She is a most sublime goddess who is the ally of beings who are bereft of companionship and support and who are subject to the coercion of others more powerful than they.

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The Eight Immortals

The Chinese character 仙, which signify immortal, is composed of 人 man and 山 a mountain. It denotes the superior class of human spirits, who, having been deified, dwell in remote mountains devoid of human inhabitants. They are imbued with the power of being visible and invisible at pleasure, of raising the dead, of changing stones they touch into gold, and of effecting at pleasure various other wonderful transmutations. The Eight Immortals or Ba Xian (八仙), are legendary beings of the Taoist sect, said to have lived at various times and attained immortality through their cultivation of Tao’s or nature secret.
Their eminent position has been attained by cultivation, to which eight, including one female (He Xian Gu, 何仙姑) have risen higher than other.

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The Chief of the Eight Immortals
Zhong LiQuan, 鐘离權

 

In Taoism, he is known as Zheng Yang Ju Shi, 正陽袓師. Literally, the True Yang First Master. He is the Chief of the Eight Immortals, is said to have lived during the Han dynasty and have possessed the secrets of the elixir of life, and the power of transmutation. He is also known as Zhongli of Han (漢鐘離) because he was born in the Han Dynasty. He is usually depicted as a fat man exposing his bare belly, always grasping his emblem, a fan, which has the magical ability of reviving the dead. 

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Zhang GuoLao, 張果老

 

Elder Zhang Guo, lived during the 7th and 8th century AD is a hermit who had spiritual powers of magic, i.e. rendering himself invisible, He is accompanied by a white mule, which carried him immense distances and when not, required was transformed into a paper mule, folded up and put away in his pouch. When he wished to resume his travels, he sprinkles some water upon the paper mule revived it and the mule will appear at once. He generally rode his mule backwards. His emblem is the “Yugu” (魚故), a kind of musical instrument in the shape of bamboo tube or drum with two rods to beat it.

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Lu Dong Bin, 呂洞

 

He is the most widely known among the group of deities known as the Eight Immortals and hence considered by some to be the de facto leader. He was born during the Tang Dynasty (AD750). A scholar and ascetic who learnt the secrets of Taoism from Zhong LiQuan, the Chief of the Eight Immortals, and attained immortality at the age 50. He is the patron saint of barbers and is also worshipped by the sick. He is generally depicted wearing a scholar clothes and head gear, holds in his right hand a Taoist fly whisk, and his emblem, a sword, which is slung across his back. He is well known of slaying and getting rids of various forms of evil on earth for more than 400 years.

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Cao Guo Jiu, 曹國舅

 

He was born during the Song Dynasty (AD930-999) as the son of a military commander by the name Cao Bin 曹彬, that happens to be the brother of Empress Cao Hou 曹后. He is depicted dressed in official robes, a court headdress and he holds a pair of castanets, which is his emblem. The castanets are said to be derived from the court tablets, authorizing free access to the Imperial palace, to which he was entitled due to his birth. 

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Li TieGuai, 李铁拐

 

He was born during the Western Zhou period, and was originally named Li Yüan. He studied with Lao Tzu (founder of Taoism) and Goddess Hsi Wang Mu. He is said to have devoted 40 years to the practice of meditation and cultivation of Taoist esoteric practice.

Before becoming an immortal, he had a pleasant disposition. However, on one occasion his spirit traveled to celestial realm. He instructs his disciple to wait seven days for his spirit to return; but after six days the student had to return to attend his sick mother, so he cremated his body assuming that he had deceased.

Upon returning, Li was forced to enter the only body available, the corpse of a homeless beggar who had died of starvation; who unfortunately had “a long and pointed head, blackened face, woolly and disheveled beard and hair, huge eyes, and a lame leg.” His emblem is the pilgrim’s gourd which identifies him as one of the Eight Immortals, and his iron crutch.

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Han  XiangZi, 韓湘子

 

He is the nephew of Han Yu 韓愈, a famous scholar and statesman who lived during the Tang Dynasty (AD820). He is the disciple of Lu DongBin, he became an immortal when he fell into a supernatural peach tree. He has the ability of making flowers grow and blossom instantaneously. His emblem is the flute, and he is the patron of musicians. He wanders around, playing his flute, enticing birds and beast of prey by the sweet melodious sound of his flute. 

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Lan Caihe, 藍采和

 

He was from Tang Dynasty. His behavior was out of norm and known for its bizarreness. He wore only shorts and thin shirts in winter, and thick jacket and long pants in summer. He walked with one foot bare and another with shoe.
His distinctive emblem is a flower-basket, often carried slung on a hoe over his shoulder. The basket contains various flora associated with ideas of longevity.

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He Xian Gu, 何仙姑

 

Lived during the 7th century AD, she is the daughter of a shopkeeper of LingLing 零陵, Hunan province in the Tang Dynasty. According to one account at the age of thirteen, she often went to the mountains to collect medicinal herbs. One day, she encountered the Immortal Lu DongBin who gave her a peach and told her, “You shall become an immortal is you eat it”. She did as he said, and miraculously she, never felt hungry or thirsty, can float and jumped from one cliff to another gathering medicinal herbs to help the sick. In addition, she could predict people’s fortune.  Her emblem is the lotus, which she carries in her hand. And at times she is also depicted holding a fly whisk on the other hand.

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Er Lang Shen, 二郎神

 

Erlang Shen (二郎神), named Yang Jian (杨戬), is a Chinese God with a third true-seeing eye in the middle of his forehead.  According to the “Story about Li Bing and his son in harnessing the rivers”, After being appointed governor of Sichuan by King Zhao of the State of Qin. Li Bing diverts water from the two rivers of Chengdu to irrigate thousand hectares of farmlands. His son ErLang helps him to build water control systems to prevent flood. Based on a historical record says, “The Erlang Temple of Guan-Kou in Sichuan was established to commemorate LiBing’s merits in opening up wells, building bridges, irrigation of the agricultural lands, developing the Guanxian area and Chengdu plain, and increasing agricultural production.
 

Here is another legend about ErLang with his seven friends vanquishing an evil dragon. On their journey ErLang and his seven friends approached a thatched cottage by a river near the county town of Guanxian, they heard someone crying inside. They entered and found an elderly woman wailing for her youngest grandson who was to be taken away as a sacrificial offering for the river god-an evil dragon. Astonished, ErLang seek his father advice on how to capture the monster. LiBing taught him a strategy, on the sacrificial procession ErLang holding his three-pointed and double-edged sword in hand, went into the River God Temple with his seven friends, and hid themselves behind the altar.
 

After a while, the dragon descends with a gust of strong wind and torrential rain into the temple to snatch the sacrifice. ErLang and his mates jumped out immediately and fight it. Defeated the dragon flee out of the temple. As planned by LiBing the villagers beat their drums and gongs to emit loud sounds to petrify the dragon. This scared the dragon who fled into the river. ErLang and his mates pursued the dragon by diving into the river. The dragon was finally captured.
 

The old woman who had been grievously crying for her grandson gave ErLang a chain to express her gratitude for saving his grandson. ErLang tied the dragon to a stone post of the Vanquishing Dragon Temple and had it detained in a deep pool. From that day onwards, the area was free from flood.     
ErLang is depicted carrying a three-pointed and double edge-sword and has a Celestial Hound that follows him around

 

  Chinese Seals

 

Introduction to Chinese Seals


 


夫篆刻豈小技乎?其中有書法、有意法、有刀法,三者不可不講也。所謂書法者,古人作字不外六書,失之毫釐,謬以千里。若不深加考據,妄以己意奏泊,非書法也。章法者,點劃之間,自有向背。一字有一字之法,幾字有幾字之法,方圓不同,修短各異,照應收放,悉有原本。微有牽率強合之病,非章法矣。至於刀法,非燕尾鋸齒之謂也,日漸月摩,純熟之至,迎刃而出,自然渾融,具有天趣。否則,刻意摹古。痕跡未化,非刀法矣。

清.王撰《寶晉齋印譜》


Chinese seal carving is not an average skill. It is indispensable to deal with the methodologies of (seal script) calligraphy, ideas, and carving. The ancient Chinese wrote according to the Six Principles to compose Chinese scripts; a minimal error or deviation results in wide divergence. If one creates new scripts without studying and obeying the principles, the writing is not considered calligraphy. As for designing the arrangement of scripts in a seal, one has to consider the disposition of strokes and the various effects. The designs are different for seals with one or several characters – their angles, roundness, and lengths differ. There always exist principles as to modify the angles, roundness and lengths. If there is a minimal incoherence, it is not a good design. As for carving, do not imitate the shapes of a sparrow’s tail or a saw’s teeth. Practicing diligently for many days and months will help the carver obtain proficiency, natural smoothness and coherence, and joyfulness. On the contrary, if one labors to copycat ancient seals without understanding, traces of incoherence will show and this is not considered good carving.

Adapted from Seal Collections of Baojin Studio by Wang Zhuan of Ching Dynasty

 

 

 

Chinese seal engraving can be traced back to more than 3,000 years ago to the Shang Dynasty when the inscriptions on tortoise shells and bronze were available for recording happenings and ideas of human being. The early Chinese seals were in the form of engraved pictographic characters and simple decorative patterns. From archeological finds, bronze seals engraved with pictographic characters are known to have existed in the Shang Dynasty. Some of those crudely made seals, though not matured in a high art form, are indicative of the simplicity of beauty found in early civilization of China.

 

 

Inscription of a fish-shaped character in Shang Dynasty

Chinese seals perform a simple, uniform purpose. They serve as a personal signature of their owner, or more significantly, they serve as the symbol of legitimacy for a ruler or a high social status. The use of seals in China originated during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods. There was a need for a formal system to record and preserve records of economic, military, and administrative functions. The development of Chinese seals, either from function or artistic forms, went on from craftspeople and artisans to the emperors and all walks of life.

Until the end of the Warring States Periods, there was only one way to classify seals – official and private, regardless of their use and material.

Official seals   官印

Official seals were conferred to officials to represent their rank and authority. These seals were usually small enough to be carried on the official’s belt. Regulations existed as to the material and shape of the handle of these seals. Up to the Eastern Han Dynasty, the color of ink used to affix official seals was regulated depending on the position of each official. 

 

 

Private seals   私印

Private seals were not regulated by the governments and therefore they had the largest variety in content, shape, size, material and calligraphy styles. Despite of their varied characteristics, they can still be categorized based on their uses.

Seals with names, pen names, pseudonyms, and etc on them were used as a signature by people in their private life. This is how artists signed their works and letters. Chinese literati commonly used a number of different pen names. So identifying an artist’s name from a seal can be a profound skill.

 

 

Collector’s Seals ( 收藏章 ) were mainly used for the purpose of authenticating pieces of art. Thus a seal of a famous collector or connoisseur would become an integral part of a work of art and could substantially raise its value. Thus in the course of several centuries, some Chinese paintings became covered by a dozen of different seals.

 

 

The rest of private seals can be conveniently categorized as “Leisure Seals 閑章“. The inscription on these seals is usually a short phrase quoted from a poem or saying that the seal owner thought was poetic or meaningful.

 

 

A master seal engraver must be able to write different styles of the Chinese scripts and arrange all the characters in a perfect balance. Sometimes the artist has to exaggerate the thickness or thinness of a stroke, elaborately straighten or curve it, or even deliberately deform an ideogram to create an artistic effect. Basically, a master seal engraver must also be a great Zuan Shu calligrapher.

 

The strokes of the Zuan Shu character in the middle were deliberately lengthened

 

A perfect seal also relies heavily on the engraver’s speed and strength of his wrist and finger movements as well as the particular tools used. The engraver should also be very familiar with different materials like jade, gold, brass, and stone, so that he can apply the tool with the right strength and rhythm.

 

                                      

Seal carving is an integration of limitation and infinity. A seal’s physical size and space are totally unproportionate to its spiritual content in a condensed art form. The meaning it intends to express is often extremely delicate and abstruse. Under the carving knives of outstanding seal engravers, dots, lines, raises, concaves, sparsity, density, punching, and cutting have all become demonstrative elements in highly abstract forms.

A good seal stamp on a Chinese calligraphy or painting work will give the artwork a new look. A good Chinese painter or seal maker must be a good Chinese calligrapher because Chinese painting and seal making both have a strong root in Chinese calligraphy. However, a good Chinese calligrapher does not necessarily need to be a painter or seal maker. Nowadays people seem to neglect the strict rules of putting seal stamps on calligraphy and painting works in appropriate positions due to lack of study.

 few days ago, we went to a consignment store in Healdsburg to get some puzzles for my sweetie’s collection. While there, I found the best seal yet. Shaped like the head of the Buddha, about 12cm tall, and very well carved; whoever made this knew what they were doing. It’s also unusually large, with an inscription nearly twice the size of any other seal I’ve ever seen.

皇帝行寶

The inscription reads “皇帝行寶” (“huáng dì xíng băo”). “皇帝” means “Emperor” (as in Qin Shi Huangdi, the name of China’s first Emperor). “行” means to walk, to travel, or a road or path, and also to act or to put into effect. “寶” means “treasure”, and was used as a term for royal and official seals (as opposed to “印”, “yìn”, which was used with personal seals).

From what I’ve been able to discern from searching on this phrase, this appears to be an official seal of some sort. It would be used on documents to give the Emperor’s authority to an official action. The inscription could be read as, roughly, “Carried out in the Emperor’s name”. The size and quality of the carving also suggest this, as official seals were made to higher standards. Seals in the shape of the Buddha’s head weren’t uncommon, either.

I’m not sure how old it is; the dealer couldn’t give me any information on that. If it’s genuine and not a modern recreation, then given the outstanding condition, it would most likely date to the later Qing dynasty–19th or early 20th century, right before the revolution that created the Republic of China. However, it’s most likely a modern imitation. At some point, I should take it to an expert to find out.

Even so, it’s beautiful, and I’m happy to have found it. (It was also an outrageous bargain!) Nothing like serendipity, eh?

Mar 30, 2011

A new hobby

art, China, Chinese, hobbies , 11 Comments

One side-effect of my learning about Chinese in this last year has been finding out about seals.

Handwritten signatures aren’t very important in China, certainly less so than here in the West. Part of the reason is, apparently, that the ideographic writing system gives less room for creativity and individuality. But, for whatever reason, signatures never developed the cachet that they did in Europe.

Instead, for millennia, the Chinese have used seals–small stamps, usually of stone (everything from soapstone to jade), with a name, a slogan, or an abstract design.

Most people in China have at least one of these, with their name, usually in a somewhat stylized script. It’s used for all kinds of daily business, in the same way that Westerners use a signature–cashing checks, signing contracts, etc. Artists and intellectuals might also have additional seals for their studios, or seals carved with inspirational sayings. They are also required for all businesses operating in China, as well as for government agencies. A special cinnabar paste is used to give that rich red color that the Chinese love so much. (Cinnabar contains mercury, but that doesn’t seem to be a major concern.)

The seal is an interesting alternate solution to the problem of identity. In many ways, it’s actually more secure than a signature. The seal is tied to a specific physical object that the person keeps in a secure location. And, since seals are mostly handmade, they all contain their own unique flaws and imperfections, which make them nearly impossible to fake without access to the original.

Seals aren’t terribly well-known over here, because they’re not used much outside mainland China. (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea also use them, but they’re not quite as important as in the PRC.) About the only place we ever see them is on Chinese artworks. Chinese artists use them to sign their works–and, interestingly, a collector will mark the work with his or her own seal. If this is tastefully done, it doesn’t harm the value of the artwork at all, and can even enhance it if the collector is important. (I’ve seen reproductions of thousand-year-old Chinese paintings with up to 30 seals from the collectors whose hands they’ve passed through.) They are also often used to mark books, in the same way we might use a book plate.

Naturally, the creation of these seals is an industry and art form all to itself. The top of a seal often has a sculpture, usually with special meaning for the owner. Another specialist carves the imprint on the bottom of the seal–or the owner may do it himself. The final product is a miniature art piece with a practical purpose.

Obviously, when I found out about these, my collector sense went off, and I knew I had to have one for myself.

You might remember when I chose the Chinese name 安彬锐 (An Binrui). To get my seal design, I started with an online generator that could create it using a traditional seal script. The result wasn’t perfect, though; it didn’t match up with images of actual seals that I had seen. So I rearranged a little, and got the above.

So far, so good; now I needed a stone. I soon found a couple in antique stores. The first one I found was this one, blank, with a nicely crafted dog for the sculpture. (My Chinese astrological sign is the Monkey, but never mind that.)

It was originally about 3/4 of an inch taller, but it had some significant damage along one edge. So I simply got out the dremel and cut off the bottom end.

Shortly after that, I found a second blank stone, not as nice, to use for practice.

I didn’t have the proper tools, but I discovered quickly that the stone is soft enough to work without too much trouble. I actually ended up doing most of the work on both with the end of a paperclip–although I had a couple of fine screwdriver blades that also worked well. An hour or so of work, a bit of polishing with the dremel, and voila.

The symbol on this one, 知, means “knowledge”. A little crude, but I still like it.

A few days later, I tackled the big one. I marked the larger stone and got to work. It wasn’t easy, I had to start over a couple of times, and my hands were sore when I was done, but I was pleased with the final result.

And, the moment of truth:

Not bad at all. It’s still crude compared to the work of professional carvers, but for an amateur like me–who had never done any stone carving at all before–it’s pretty good. If I do say so myself. And yes, there are flaws, but that just gives it authenticity, I think.

I don’t know that I’ll be making any more seals for myself, but I can totally see myself collecting them. I found a third pretty quickly–with a Chinese version of “Anna”, probably a souvenir from a Chinatown somewhere–and I’ve since seen some very beautiful ones for sale.

Not that I really need another hobby, of course…

Jul 17, 2010

By any other name

China, Chinese, personal , 2 Comments

Back in March, when I was first starting to learn Chinese, I realized early on that I wanted to make use of Chinese websites and social networks to help me learn the language. But I had a dilemma. What name to use? I use my real name pretty much everywhere online–I’ve hated cutesy handles for quite a while now–but I wanted something more appropriate for Chinese sites.

Often, Western students of Chinese receive a name early in their class, usually by choosing it with the help of the instructor; in business contexts, a name might be given by a Chinese-speaking colleague. This is because many Chinese have trouble using and remembering Western names, and also because it makes a useful exercise. But I don’t have an instructor, and so, if I wanted a Chinese name, I had to do it myself. And I quickly discovered that this is harder than you might expect, for several reasons.

First, Chinese names are structured very differently. A standard Chinese personal name consists of three characters. (There are variations–for example, some family names have two characters instead of one–but this is rare.) The first character is the family name, which for Westerners is usually drawn from the most common family names. The second is a generational name, which for native Chinese is typically the same for all children in a family in the same generation; these are chosen in advance by the family. And the third character is the true given name.

In addition to this, there is meaning to consider. In the West, we typically assign names with little thought to what the words mean; probably most people have no idea what the etymology and original meaning of their name was. (I happen to know mine; “Brian” is Celtic and means “noble”.) Chinese doesn’t work the same way; most names are made up of common words that are in wide use. So it’s very important to consider the meaning of the words when choosing a name. This is complicated by the fact that Chinese has so many homonyms; one needs to know not just what the potential name means, but all its sound-alikes as well.

Plus, numerology is important. Characters are assigned to yin or yang, depending on whether the number of strokes in the character is even or odd, and there are particular patterns of yin and yang that are favored. And, finally, there are several cultural factors and taboos; certain qualities are particular to men or women, names are supposed to be well-balanced soundwise and require few strokes to write, and while originality is valued, the name should still be made up of common words.

So, what to do? I spent a good deal of time doing research and reading everything I could find online about Chinese names. After much thinking, playing, reading, and gnashing of teeth, I came up with a name.

I am:

安彬锐

Or “ān bīn ruì”, also written An Binrui.

So, why these characters? Well, “ān bīn ruì” (high tone for the first two syllables, falling tone for the third) bears a little resemblance to Brian, and that’s good. Moreover:

The family name 安 (ān) is one of the 100 most common Chinese family names; it means “peaceful”, “tranquil”, or “quiet”, and also has connotations of stability, security, and honesty.

The generational name 彬 (bīn), meaning “cultivated”, reflects a respect for tradition. Also, its most common homonym, 宾, means “guest” or “visitor”, which reflects my outsider status within the culture.

(Incidentally, fans of anime will be interested to know that in Japanese, 彬 is pronounced “akira”. It has the same meaning as in Chinese.)

The given name 锐 (ruì) means “sharp”, and reflects intellect and wisdom. Besides applying well to me (heh), these are traditionally masculine qualities and are therefore appropriate for a male name. It also has a common homonym, 瑞, meaning “auspicious” or “lucky”, which is nice.

These are all common words that require few strokes to write, and the complete name is well-balanced between vowels and consonants. Also, thankfully, the name appears to be unique. I was unable to find any hits for it on Google or on its Chinese competitor Baidu. Uniqueness is very good.

I haven’t had a chance to check with a native Chinese speaker to find out if I messed up, but from everything I’ve read, I think I did okay. And I’ve been using the name on Baidu Space for four months now without comment–although I do intend to write a version of this post there to find out for certain.

So. I already had my Western name–actually, I’ve had two, since I took my spouse’s surname last year–as well as a Tibetan name (Tenzin Galpo) from a Buddhist teacher some years ago. And now I have a Chinese name as well. I wonder if I’ll be getting any more?

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Jun 27, 2010

Virtual travel

China, photos, travel, web 2.0 , 0 Comment

Last week, I was at the bookstore and came across China Road: A Journey Into the Future of a Rising Power by Rob Gifford. This book, based on a series of NPR stories Gifford filed in 2004, chronicles his trip across China on Route 312, a highway stretching across the country from Shanghai to the border with Kazakhstan in the far northwest.

After I read the book, it occurred to me that I had tools for following his journey that did not exist at the time–namely, Google Earth and Panoramio. So I fired up Google Earth to see what I could find.

For those who aren’t familiar with Panoramio, it’s a photo-sharing site, owned by Google, that allows photos to be stored with geotagging information–either added automatically by the camera, or created by hand afterward. The site is loaded with millions of images from all over the world, mostly created and shared by amateurs. And many of them also find their way into Google Earth and Google Maps. So this is a marvelous way to get an idea of what a given place looks like.

Now, I wasn’t expecting to find many images outside of China’s major cities; not too many Westerners find their way into the back country, and I assumed that few Chinese out there would have the motivation and ability to share their photos. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only had some Chinese (mostly cyclists) visited these areas and posted pictures, but a few foreigners had also traveled the long and slow way.

In particular, there was a German fellow that I had already known about, who walked across China in 2007 in a project called The Longest Way. (I found out about him through an awesome video self-portrait he had posted.) So imagine my delight when I found that he had taken lots of photos all along his route–over 7000 in all–and that all of them were geotagged and placed in Panoramio.

So I got to spend several hours over three days virtually traveling Route 312, through his and others’ eyes.

It’s difficult to express how it felt to see all of these places that I probably will never visit in person. I’m not just talking about major landmarks, though those are definitely interesting. I’m much more interested in the little places.

The Emperor Of Shun

 

Chinese  Three

Surnamed Yao, Shun was the designated throne successor to Emperor Yao, who set great store by Shun’s moral integrity and unusual talent. Shun was also known for his filial piety.

Legend has it that Shun was born in a humble family. Although the family was descended from Emperor Zhuanxu, they were commoners for five generations, living at the lowest social stratum. Shun was frequently mistreated by the family, but he remained filial to his parents. When choosing a successor, Emperor Yao married his two daughters off to Shun in an attempt to test Shun’s morals and capabilities. Shun not only made his two wives live in harmony with the whole family, but also demonstrated exceptional talent and moral integrity in every aspect of life.

After ascending the throne, Shun made revisions to calendar systems and held various sacrificial rituals. Meanwhile, he attached great importance to connections with local authorities by calling in vassals and local officials on a regular basis as a way of strengthening the control over those areas.

According to legend, one of Shun’s state-ruling policies was “exhibiting (to the people) the statutory punishments and enacting banishment as a mitigation of the five (severe) penalties”. The five penalties were depicted on vessels as a warning and cruel penalties were replaced with banishment as a sign of leniency.

For officials, Shun stipulated that their political achievements should be assessed every three years and their promotion or demotion would be determined according to the results of three times’ assessment.

In his old age, Shun abdicated the throne in favor of Yu, who had both ability and integrity. It is said that Shun was buried in Jiuyi Mountain in the south of the Yangtze River after his death. The tomb was known as “Ling Mausoleum

star Gods 

Chinese early Republican Period, Famille Rose enameled porcelain figures of the Three Star Gods, Fu (Good Fortune), Lu (Prosperity), and Shou (Longevity) standing in elaborately embellished robes, Shou with natural hair inserts. Bases with impressed mark. Fu measures: 24.5″h. Lu measures: 27″h. Shou measures: 24″h.

Buddhist Swastika

 Chinese blue and white dish with foliate rim, Wanl

 

Chinese blue and white dish with foliate rim, Wanl Ref: R12
Chinese blue and white dish with foliate rim, Wanli (1573-1619), decorated with a central star containing swastika motifs, the rim with Daoist emblems; diameter: 8 in., 20.3cm ; condition: rim frits

Compare with Japanese ware

 

 

ANTIQUE JAPANESE BUDDHIST MANJI SWASTIKA CERAMIC PLATE

Meiji era to Showa era Japanese buddhism MANJI (swastika) ceramic plate. The swastika is a buddhist symbol that predates the Nazis by a few thousand years, so it has nothing to do with them. It was also seen as a good luck symbol in the west. Did you know t was a swastika painted in the nosecone of the Spirit of St. Louis? The plate measures approx. 5 inches in diameter. Learn more about the swastika : /wiki/Swastika Winning bidders from Italy, Latvia, Russia and China must pay extra for EMS delivery. No exceptions

CONDITION: Excellent. T is a tiny hairline on the rim only. Still beautiful

The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( Continiu )

THE ART MOTIF OF CHINA IMPERIAL CERAMIC FOUND IN INDONESIA

PART THREE

PART III. STUDIES RESULTS

 

By

Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

Private Limited E-Book In CD-Rom Edition

Special For Senior Reseacher And Collectors

Copyright @ 2013

THIS THE SAMPLE OF Dr Iwan Limited E-Book In CD-Rom with unedited non complete info illustration, the complete CD-Rom exist but only for premium member please subscribe via comment with your email address and private information same as  your ID-Card

 

Driwancybermuseum Homeoffice  

 

Nice Handmade Chinese Qing Dynasty Imperial Officer Broadsword Rare

Old Chinese Sword

A Rare Jewelled and Canton-Enamelled Gilt-Decorated Sword and Basse-Taille Scabbard with Gold Foils, Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing Period, Circa 1800<br /><br /><br />
Sotheby’s, Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, Oct 5th” src=”http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ls8w26Jz7W1r2ij18o1_500.jpg” /></a></p>
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<p><strong>A Rare Jewelled and Canton-Enamelled Gilt-Decorated Sword and Basse-Taille Scabbard with Gold Foils, Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing Period, Circa 1800</strong></p>
</div>
<p align=

 Chinese Sword Dadao 1933

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compare with the japanese and Korean sword

 There are seems tobe a lot of misunderstanding of what is Korean sword lookalike.
Well, tobe honest, both Japanese sword and Korean sword look very similar, many untrained eyes won’t tell them apart however, Korean sword always have shorter handle & slightly shorter than Japanese ones.

This is Japanese sword from 17th century
Posted Image

Modern Katana
Posted Image

This is what Korean sword from Joseon Dynasty
Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Korean sword is called Hwando (환도), and it’s one handed sword and about 60cm long where as Japanese Katana can be long as 80cm and heavier due to more steel was used to forged the sword.

There are Katana like Korean sword, which is called Yedo, which is often used in ceremonial event and carried by commander and can be 90cm long in length, the Hwando also have shorter handle as well, this is due to it can handled with one arm and other hand is to carry bow.

Joseon Hwando is more like these Turkish or Mughal sword
Posted Image

Here is what Korean fortress guard would carried, both bow & hwando.
Notice there are two sword types – longer one is Yedo, mostly carried by commander/cavalry, short one is Hwando, standard sword for Joseon army.
Posted Image
Illustration of Early Joseon middle army 14~15th century

 

 Tai Chi

 

What is Tai Chi?

Meditation in Motion

Today in the Western world the term “tai chi” has become recognised first and foremost as an exercise to promote health and longevity, usually practiced early in the morning by individuals or groups of middle-aged and elderly people. It is categorised by slow movements grouped into a set of martial forms, performed in what seems to be a meditative state. This is, in fact, a simplistic view of what is really a very complex art, steeped in Chinese history and tradition and encompassing several aspects such as martial arts, medical concepts, Chinese philosophy including Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and applicable not only to individual health and as a method of self-defence, but also to social and moral conduct, business management and marketing, and, importantly, to family cohesion.

The Meaning of Tai Chi

Attempts at translating the words Tai Chi, or Tai Ji (太極), are unlikely to convey the true meaning, and the term has already become commonly used in the Western world. However, an explanation of its history and concepts can perhaps enlighten those who are unfamiliar with the term.

As mentioned, for most Western people, Tai Chi is usually understood as a set of exercises or forms practiced in slow motion to enhance health and maintain youthfulness. It is often written as Tai Chi Chuan, or Tai Ji Quan (太極拳), the last character, chuan, often translated as “fist” and leading to the assumption that Tai Chi Chuan is some form of Chinese Boxing. A more precise understanding would be to take chuan to be a suffix that adds the notion of physical activity.

Tai Chi itself is a term found originally in ancient Chinese philosophy that eventually became associated with an evolving system of principles and exercises aimed at extending the length and quality of life through the study and practice of Nature and its relevance to human life. Later, this was applied to military strategy and martial arts.

tai chi symbol

The Emperor Sage Fu Hsi, or Fu Xi (伏羲), who lived around 2,400BC, is attributed as the creator of the Tai Chi symbol (see picture) and the Ba Gua (八卦) “eight trigrams” symbols. Fu Hsi studied the cyclical changes of Nature and attempted to arrange knowledge of these cycles into an organised system. The Tai Chi symbol is, as it were, a statement about the reality of Nature, a reality as a continuous flow of cyclic change and blending. The circle represents the fullness of reality, within the circle are the principles of Yin (陰), represented by the dark area, and Yang (陽),the light area. These two areas complement each other in shape yet are opposite in shade. Each contains some of the other, as seen in the two small circles. The shape of each area also conveys the notion that each flows into the other.

The Ba Gua symbol (below) consists of eight arrangements of three solid or broken lines, often arranged around the Tai Chi symbol. Each symbol represents the major phases of cycles of Nature: heaven, earth, wind, water, mountain, thunder, fire and lake. These were further expanded, such as the heavenly cycle consisting of sun, moon, star, day, night, morning, evening, wind, thunder, rain and cloud phases; and the earthly cycle consisting of mountain, river, lake, swamp, fire, water, tree, flower and grass phases. These are symbolised by various combinations of the eight trigrams into pairs to form 64 hexagrams. The I Ching, or Yi Jing (易經), known also as The Book of Changes, is a collection of principles used to interpret Nature through the trigrams and hexagrams.

bagua symbol

Tai Chi and Taoism

Taoism (pronounced. Daoism) is an inherently Chinese philosophy primarily characterised in the ancient works of Lao Zi (老子) and Zhuang Zi (莊子). ( It should not be confused with Taoism the religion which was a later development of practices and strange rituals loosely based on Taoist philosophy.) The Taoist understanding of Tai Chi is derived from the I Ching (pronounced ee jing). Sometimes translated as ‘the grand ultimate’, it means the never changing, the one, the all. Nothing lies outside of it and nothing contains all of it. Often represented by a dot “.”, Tai Chi generates the two forces of Yin and Yang. The word Tao, or Dao (道), is usually translated as the ‘Way’ or ‘Path’. All Nature is created from the Tao and when the Yin and Yang forces are balanced and in harmony together, this also represents Tao. Everything in existence possesses the complementary elements of Yin and Yang, positive and negative, active and passive, etc. Tai Chi itself is created when Wu Chi (無極), a state of ‘nothingness’, moves. This is really an ancient Chinese perception of the creation of the universe. From nothingness, or non-being, movement begets the beginning of creation, the development of the dual forces of Yin and Yang, that constantly cycle, providing an unending process of creation.

The way of the Tao lies in stillness, Nature responds spontaneously and harmoniously, not deliberately. In application, the natural way of Tai Chi is only to defend oneself with a force much smaller than that used by an opponent. Tai Chi is not intended to injure or cause pain. Only from being relaxed can a Tai Chi practitioner achieve this. The Taoist concept of action without action (無為,無不為) or from a state of nothingness, one can react, epitomises the importance of Taoist philosophy in the application of Tai Chi. This is also expressed by how the Tai Chi practitioner can obtain good health through relaxation, balance, proper breathing and good posture.

 

 The Great Yu the emperor of Hsia

  

ANCIENT CHINESE HISTORY


Yellow Emperor The Chinese believe that their history goes back 4,700 years. Archeological verification of the legendary Age of Five Rulers (2700-2200 B.C.) has not been found but there is some for the legendary Xia Dynasty (2200-1700 B.C.).

Chinese civilization, as described in mythology, begins with Pangu, the creator of the universe, and a succession of legendary sage-emperors and culture heroes who taught the ancient Chinese to communicate and to find sustenance, clothing, and shelter. The first recognized dynasty—the Xia—lasted from about 2200 to 1750 B.C. and marked the transition from the late neolithic age to the Bronze Age. Until scientific excavations were made at early bronze-age sites at Anyang, Henan Province, in 1928, it was difficult to separate myth from reality in regard to the Xia. But since then, and especially in the 1960s and 1970s, archaeologists have uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs that point to the existence of Xia civilization in the same locations cited in ancient Chinese historical texts. At minimum, the Xia period marked an evolutionary stage between the late neolithic cultures and the typical Chinese urban civilization of the Shang dynasty. [Source: The Library of Congress]

The Xia was the beginning of a long period of cultural development and dynastic succession that led the way to the more urbanized civilization of the Shang Dynasty (1750–1040 B.C.). Hereditary Shang kings ruled over much of North China, and Shang armies fought frequent wars against neighboring settlements and nomadic herders from the north. The Shang capitals were centers of sophisticated court life for the king, who was the shamanistic head of the ancestor- and spirit-worship cult. Intellectual life developed in significant ways during the Shang period and flourished in the next dynasty—the Zhou (1040–256 B.C.). China’s great schools of intellectual thought—Confucianism, Legalism, Daoism, Mohism, and others—all developed during the Zhou Dynasty. [Ibid]

The intersection of migration, amalgamation, and development has characterized China’s history from its earliest origins and resulted in a distinctive system of writing, philosophy, art, and social and political organization and civilization that was continuous over the past 4,000 years. Since the beginning of recorded history (at least since the Shang Dynasty), the people of China have developed a strong sense of their origins, both mythological and real, and kept voluminous records concerning both. As a result of these records, augmented by numerous archaeological discoveries in the second half of the twentieth century, information concerning the ancient past, not only of China but also of much of East, Central, and Inner Asia, has survived. [Ibid]

Important Xia, Shang and Zhou archaeological sites include the newly-discovered Shang city ruins at Yanshi and Huanbei; the excavations of the Erlitou, Yinxu and Fenghao sites; new breakthrough discoveries at the cemeteries at the Liulihe site in Beijing, Qianzhangda in Tengzhou and Dadianzi in Inner Mongolia. Excavations at Shang and Zhou imperial cities such as the Yinxu ruins in Anyang, the Changan and Fenghao ruins in modern-day Xian, and the Eastern Zhou capital Wangcheng in Luoyang, which have helped archaeologists establish a chronology for the Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties.

Links in this Website: IMPERIAL CHINA factsanddetails.com ; CHINESE ART FROM THE GREAT DYNASTIES factsanddetails.com/china ; CHINESE DYNASTIES Factsanddetails.com/China ; PREHISTORIC MAN IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; CHINA’S EARLIEST CULTURES Factsanddetails.com/China ; ZHOU (CHOU) DYNASTY (1100-221 B.C.) Factsanddetails.com/China ; EMPEROR QIN AND THE QIN DYNASTY (221-206 B.C.) Factsanddetails.com/China ; HAN DYNASTY (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) Factsanddetails.com/China ;

Good Websites and Sources on Early Chinese History: 1) Ancient China Life ancientchinalife.com ; 2) Ancient China for School Kids elibrary.sd71.bc.ca/subject_resources ; 3) Oriental Style ourorient.com ; 4) Chinese Text Project chinese.dsturgeon.net ; 5) Minnesota State University site mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory ; 6) ChinaVoc.com ChinaVoc.com ; 7) Early Medieval China Journal languages.ufl.edu/EMC ; 8) History of China history-of-china.com ; 9) U.S.C. Education usc.edu/libraries/archives Books: Cambridge History of Ancient China edited by Michael Loewe and Edward Shaughnessy (1999, Cambridge University Press); The Culture and Civilization of China, a massive, multi-volume series, (Yale University Press); Mysteries of Ancient China: New Discoveries from the Early Dynasties by Jessica Rawson (British Museum, 1996)

Good Chinese History Websites: 1) Chaos Group of University of Maryland chaos.umd.edu/history/toc ; 2) Brooklyn College site academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu ; 3) Wikipedia article on the History of China Wikipedia 4) China Knowledge chinaknowledge.de ; 5) China History Forum chinahistoryforum.com ; 6) Gutenberg.org e-book gutenberg.org/files ; 7 ) WWW VL: History China vlib.iue.it/history/asia

Age of Five Rulers (2700-2200 B.C.)

According to legend, the ancient Chinese were savages until a sage taught them how to build shelters. Later other sages taught them, in succession, about fire, music and the cultivation of crops. The last of these sages was the Yellow Emperor.

The legendary Xia dynasty was preceded by three sovereigns (two male rulers and the wife of one ruler) and three emperors. The first sovereign, Fuxi, married his dragon-tailed sister the goddess Nügua, who is credited with creating the institution of marriage and molding the first human beings from clay. Fuxi bestowed the gifts of hunting, fishing and animal husbandry on humanity. His successor, the ox-headed Shennong, gave humanity agriculture and knowledge of medicinal plants.

The three emperors also bestowed gifts in humanity. The first emperor, Huangdi (Huang Di) is said to have given humanity agricultural calendars, boats, armor and pottery. He invented mathematics, medicine, the civil service, and the use of fire in cooking, and used his knowledge to unite the Chinese tribes. His wife, Lei Zu is credited with discovering how to weave silk from silk worm cocoons (See Silk, Economics). A tomb in Huang Lin, a small town Shaanxi province, about 200 kilometers north of Xian, is said to contain Huang di’s remains. “Huang Lin” literally means “Huang’s Tomb.”

The period is called the Age of the Rulers because Fuxi’s wife Nugua didn’t count. Szu, the second emperor and forth ruler, dammed 233,559 streams and built mountains in the four corners of the kingdom to halt flooding; and Emperor Shun, the last of the five, was the hero of the Great Flood and father of writing.

Xia Dynasty (2200-1700 B.C.) and the Legendary Yellow Emperor of China


Emperor Shun The Xia (Hsia) dynasty began when Shun abdicated in favor of Emperor Yu,the legendary Yellow Emperor of China, from whom all other Chinese are believed to have descended. Venerated as the first emperor of China, Yu had thousands of concubines because he believed the more sex partners he had the longer he would live. He reputedly became immortal after he made love to a thousand young virgins. Yao, another mythical emperor who followed Yu, was famous for his benevolent rule and lifestyle of a simple farmer.

The oldest bronze vessels date back to the Xia dynasty. According to legend bronze was first cast 5,000 years ago by the Yellow Emperor, who cast nine bronze tripods to symbolize the nine provinces in his empire. Bronze metallurgy in China dates back to 2000 B.C., significantly later than in southeastern Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where it developed around 3600 B.C. to 3000 B.C.

Chinese astronomers in the Xia era were among the first to chart constellations and record supernovas. In 2296 B.C., Chinese astronomers observed a comet. They also developed a system of observation based on the equator and the poles that was not adopted by Europe until 4000 years later.

For a long time it was thought the Xia dynasty was legendary but in the last couple of decades evidence has surfaced that it really existed. A site near Erlitou in Henan Province dated to 2200 to 1700 B.C. is believed to have been a Xia capital. Archaeologists working there have found tombs filled with pottery, ornamental jade, clay irrigation pipes, and the world’s oldest ritual bronze vessels.

Xia Dynasty Archaeological Sites


Described by some as a Xia dynasty Tomb
but actually from a
A.D. 10th century Xia dynasty The Erlitou site near Yanshi city in Henan Province is thought by some historians and archeologists to have been the capital of the Xia dynasty. Excavations there have revealed palace building and tombs containing musical instruments and bronzes.

One of the most important finds from Erlitou is the Bronze Ornamental Plaque , a cast bronze and turquoise inlay that was unearthed in a tomb dated to 17th or 16th century B.C. Now housed in the Luoyang Museum, it features a foxlike animals that is thought to be a representation of a deity. Some speculate may have been worn as a breast plate and a symbol of divine authority.

Important Xia, Shang and Zhou archaeological sites include the newly-discovered Shang city ruins at Yanshi and Huanbei; the excavations of the Erlitou, Yinxu and Fenghao sites; new breakthrough discoveries at the cemeteries at the Liulihe site in Beijing, Qianzhangda in Tengzhou and Dadianzi in Inner Mongolia. Excavations at Shang and Zhou imperial cities such as the Yinxu ruins in Anyang, the Changan and Fenghao ruins in modern-day Xian, and the Eastern Zhou capital Wangcheng in Luoyang, which have helped archaeologists establish a chronology for the Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties.

SHANG DYNASTY (1700-1100 B.C.)

The Shang dynasty, China’s first true dynasty, ruled over the Yellow River Plain in the present-day provinces of Shandong, Henan, Shanxi and Hebei in northeastern China from 1554 to 1045 B.C. or from 1700 to 1100 B.C., depending on the source. China’s recorded history, begins with the Shang, who came into existence as a political and military force when Shang tribes overpowered tribes living on the Yellow River Plain. [Source: Peter Hessler, National Geographic, July 2003]

The Shang were a Bronze Age culture that appear to have taken over a pre-existing culture in northern China rather than create a culture of their own. There is some debate as to their origin. Some say they arrived from western Asia on chariots. Others say they developed from people that had been living for centuries along the Yellow River. The Shang were ancestor worshipers who read the future from oracle bones and produced wonderful bronze vessels with finely detailed linear designs. Inscriptions indicate they hunted from chariots, killing game as big as tigers and wild oxen with composite bows, and practiced human sacrifice. Anyang in Henan Province is regarded as the capital the Shang dynasty.

Thousands of archaeological finds in the Huang He Valley–the apparent cradle of Chinese civilization—provide evidence about the Shang dynasty. The Shang dynasty (also called the Yin dynasty in its later stages) is believed to have been founded by a rebel leader who overthrew the last Xia ruler. Its civilization was based on agriculture, augmented by hunting and animal husbandry. Two important events of the period were the development of a writing system, as revealed in archaic Chinese inscriptions found on tortoise shells and flat cattle bones (commonly called oracle bones), and the use of bronze metallurgy. A number of ceremonial bronze vessels with inscriptions date from the Shang period; the workmanship on the bronzes attests to a high level of civilization. [Source: The Library of Congress]

Book: Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present by Peter Hessler (HarperCollins, 2004)

Shang Dynasty Rule


Shang tomb guard A line of hereditary Shang kings ruled over much of northern China, and Shang troops fought frequent wars with neighboring settlements and nomadic herdsmen from the inner Asian steppes. The capitals, one of which was at the site of the modern city of Anyang, were centers of glittering court life. Court rituals to propitiate spirits and to honor sacred ancestors were highly developed. In addition to his secular position, the king was the head of the ancestor- and spirit-worship cult. Evidence from the royal tombs indicates that royal personages were buried with articles of value, presumably for use in the afterlife. Perhaps for the same reason, hundreds of commoners, who may have been slaves, were buried alive with the royal corpse. [Source: The Library of Congress]

The Shang are credited by some scholars with creating the world’s first state. They were governed by a caste of high priests, who called themselves Sons of Heaven and presided over human and animal sacrifices that honored ancestors and natural spirits. Under their leadership, urban craftsmen created fine ceramic and jade products. After 1500 B.C., bronze casting in China was the most advanced in the world. Shang kings ruled with absolute authority. The first Shang king, Tang, is said to have told his soldiers before battle: “If you do not obey…I will put your children to death with you”

The geographical extent of Shang rule has been debated. Objects with Shang markings have been found over a large area but is not clear whether the Shang ruled these areas or merely influenced their culture or traded there. Some scholars believe that the area controlled by the Shang was relatively small and the term dynasty should not even be used for them.

Shang Dynasty Military

Shang dynasty armies used chariots around 1700 B.C., around the same time that Semitic tribes and mountain people on chariots invaded the Nile Valley and infiltrated Mesopotamia. Some 200 years later Aryan charioteers from the steppes of northern Iran conquered India .

Dagger axes, battle-axes and spears have been found in Shang burials. The tomb of one Shang soldier contained the remains of 15 people, 15 dogs, numerous jade objects and a bronze hand, suggesting that soldiers enjoyed high status.

The Shang used compound bows as did as did other steppe horsemen. Early versions of these weapons were made of slender strips of wood with elastic animal tendons glued to the outside and compressible animal horn glued on the inside. Tendons are strongest when they are stretched, and bone and horn are strongest when compressed. Early glues were made from boiled cattle tendons and fish skin and were applied in a very precise and controlled manner, sometimes requiring a year to dry properly.

There was no evidence of slavery in China until the Shang period. It was customary for charioteers to sell captives and prisoners at fairs, which some scholars have suggested were the first slave markets.

First Horse-Pulled Chariots


Shang chariot Chariots preceded mounted riders by at least 1,000 years. This was so in part because early domesticated horses were small and not strong enough to support men on their backs. The first chariots were probably used by shepherds to help them hunt wolves, leopards and bears that threatened their flocks and were later adapted for warfare.

Chariots are thought to have evolved from ox carts. Because oxen were better suited for pulling plows and heavy loads, horses were attached to lighter vehicles that evolved into chariots. Lightweight chariots, employing technology similar to that used to make racing bicycles light, could move quite fast. Ancient Egyptian chariots, pulled by a pair of horses and weighing only 17 pounds, could easily reach speeds of 20 miles per hour. A cart pulled by oxen, by contrast, rarely exceeded two miles per hour.

The important parts of a chariot were the wheels, chassis, draught pole and metal fittings. Advancements in metallurgy, woodworking, tanning, leatherworking, and the uses of glues, bone and sinew all made the construction of improved chariots possible. But the most important developments were improvements in the strength and physique of horses that pulled chariots.

Chariots and Early Conquerors

The development of the chariot had a profound impact on history. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Aryrans, Indus Valley people and ancient Chinese all had them. Chariots have been around much longer than many people think. They had been in use for almost 2,000 years when the sport of chariot racing was at its peak in ancient Rome.

According to historian John Keegan “charioteers were the first great aggressors in human history.” “About 1700 B.C.,” he wrote, “Semitic tribes known as the Hykos, invaded the Nile Valley, and mountain people infiltrated Mesopotamia. Both invaders had chariots. The Hykos introduced their technology to the ancient Egyptians. Around 1500 BC, Aryan charioteers from the steppes of northern Iran conquered India and later moved on to Greece. ” [Source: "History of Warfare" by John Keegan, Vintage Books]

Fighting chariots often accommodated two people—one rider and one archer. Early charioteers often swept down out of the mountains, encircled their flat-footed and unarmored foes, and picked them off from 100 or 200 yards away with arrows fired from sophisticated bows.

Charioteers ruled the world until teh 4th century B.C. when foot soldiers in Alexander the Great’s army learned to withstand chariot advances by aiming their weapons at the horses first; wearing arrow-proof armor and shields; and organizing themselves into tight chariot-proof ranks.

Shang Burial Practices


Shang altar The Shang were buried with bronze ritual vessels, weapons and jade. Bronze vessels were often filled with food and wine to nourish the dead on their trip to the afterlife. All in all, though, the number of funeral objects found in Shang tombs was considerably less than those found in tombs of other civilizations.

The tomb of Lady Hao, the consort of Wu Ding, a Shang military ruler that once led a force of 13,000 men in battle, is one of the most important Shang discoveries. One of the few undisturbed Shang tomb found, it is is 25 feet deep, 18 feet long and 13 feet wide with various niches and ledges containing 16 sacrificed men, women and children, and six dogs. The tomb is located in Yinxu, near Anyang. It was excavated in 1976. Only a few fragments of the lacquered coffin remained.

Among the 1,900 objects found in the tomb of Lady Hao were 195 bronze ritual vessels, of which over 100 were marked with Lady Hao’s name; 250 bronze bells, knives and weapons and other objects; 755 jade objects; 6,900 cowries shells, stone sculptures and ivory carvings. The bronze objects alone weighed 3,500 pounds.

Shang Human Sacrifices

Peter Hessler wrote in National Geographic,“Many oracle bones refer to human sacrifices meant to appease these spirits. At one complex of tombs in Henan Province, excavations have uncovered more than 1,200 sacrificial pits, most of which contain human victims. An archaeologist once told me that he had counted 60 different ways a person could be killed during a Shang ceremony. But he also reminded me that these were rituals, not murder and mayhem. From the Shang perspective, human sacrifice was simply part of a remarkably well organized system. The Shang kept a strict calendar, with certain sacrificial days devoted to certain ancestors. They were meticulous almost to the point of scientific inquiry. In one instance, a diviner patiently made 70 individual oracle-bone cracks in order to determine which ancestor was responsible for a living king’s toothache.” [Source: Peter Hessler, National Geographic, January 2010]

The Shang routinely sacrificed humans. Some graves are filled with the bones of human sacrifices. The oracle bones describe burials with hundreds of sacrifices. By one count more than 13,000 people were sacrificed in the last 250 years of the Shang Dynasty alone. The victims were probably slaves but may have been prisoners of war.

At the funerals of great leaders, dogs, horses, men and women were killed and buried with rulers. The more important the ruler generally the more people that were buried with him. According to legend the last Shang emperor died after throwing himself into his burning palace and was buried with much of his court.

Excavations at the Shang site of Xiaotun have revealed nine massive tombs thought to belong to the final Shang kings. All the tombs have been looted. Still, archeologists have found lots of evidence of sacrifices. One tomb contained 74 beheaded skeletons. Another contained 37 horses. In others were monkeys, dogs, cattle and birds. Some of the victims showed signs of struggle which suggests they were buried alive.

One explanation for the slaughter of real people as opposed to the manufacturing of life-size terra-cotta figures like those buried in Xian centuries later, is that the Shang believed only dead people and animals could accompany dead leaders to the afterlife. Sacrificed women thought to be concubines were killed by strangulation and not beheaded presumably so they would remain whole in the afterlife. Another explanation for human sacrifices associated with rulers is that by having their lives bound with their master, wives, bodyguards, and servants were less likely to plot against the ruler and more likely to do what ever they could do to make sure he stayed alive. A third explanation is that the sacrifices were simply offereings to ancestors, deities or spirits.

Some inscribed oracle bones dating to the Shang period (1766-1050 B.C.) mention the rite of ning, which involved dismembering a dog to honor the winds.

Shang Oracle Bones

Shang priests practiced an unusual form of divination that involved placing heated rods in grooves carved into specially-prepared ox scapulae (shoulder bones) and turtle plastrons (the undesides of turtle shells). The ensuing cracks were read by fortunetellers for “auspicious” and “inauspicious signs” and messages from natural spirits and ancestors The predictions, often made by the king rather than the diviner, and answers were engraved on the bones. Over 100,000 “oracle bones” have been found, mostly in storage pits in Xiaotun in Henan.

Oracle bones appear to have held a high place in Shang culture and this would lead one to conclude that superstition held a very high place in the lives of the ancient Chinese. Animism (the worship of natural spirits), fertility rites, cults and ancestor worship were also present in the Shang dynasty. Some of these practices still have enthusiastic followings in China today. Scientists and scholars have devoted a lot of time to the study of Taoism and Confucianism, but Chinese superstition and everyday spiritual life remain little studied.

Inscriptions on the Oracle Bones

Users of oracle bone divinations sought advice and predictions on matters such as raising of crops, the outcome of battles, illness, and childbirth. They also sought advise from the dead, the meaning of dreams, and suggestions on how many people to sacrifice. One inscription proposed sacrificing prisoners to an ancestor. Possibly after a divination was another inscription that recommended five prisoners.

The oracle bones were seen as a medium of communications between diviners and ancestors, with the latter regarded as the sources of the information. David N. Keightley, an expert on oracle bones at the University of California at Berkeley, told National Geographic, “When it cracked, the ancestors were responding to the diviner’s statement. The diviners wanted to capture this moment.”

In an article in the New Yorker Peter Hessler described a rubbing of an oracle bone that Keightley studied on which a Shang king sought out an unhappy ancestor the king though was responsible for a tooth ache he was experiencing, Four names are listed “Father Jia, Father Geng, Father Xin, Father Yi”— the king’s dead uncle and three dead generals. For each ancestor there were multiple divinations. One inscription read: “Offer a dog to Father Geng…I think it was Father Geng who was causing the illness.”

Shang Oracle Bones and Writing

The oracle bones unearthed in Xiaotun also provided some of the earliest evidence of Chinese writing and the first examples of writing in East Asia. They recorded harvests, childbirths and wars, detailed accomplishments of kings, described human sacrifices, plagues, natural disasters, enemy tribes and the ailments of kings. Some 3000 different Chinese characters—most of them pictograms—were used during the Shang dynasty.

Messages recorded on the oracle bones included: “Lady Hao’s childbearing will be good”; “After 31 days” Lady Hao “gave birth, it was not good, it was a girl”; “In the next ten days there will be no disasters;” “If we raise 3,000 men and call on them to attack the Gofang, we will receive abundant assistance.” Some of the messages could even be poetic. One goes: “In the afternoon a rainbow also came out of the north and drank in the Yellow River.” [Source: National Geographic]

Oracle bones were also a means of communicating with the unseen world, including passing messages to ancestors of the royal family. “We ritually report the king’s sick eyes to Grandfather Ding.” “As to the coming of the Shaofang [an enemy], we make ritual-report to Father Ding.” David N. Keightley, a historian at the University of California, Berkeley, told me that he’s particularly struck by how oracle-bone inscriptions convey a sense of hierarchy and order. “The more recently dead deal with the small things; the ones who have been dead for longer deal with the bigger things,” he said. “This is a way to organize the world.”[Source: Peter Hessler, National Geographic, January 2010]

Shang Dynasty Technology and Art

Bronze technology, the chariot and writing were probably developed with foreign influences by teh Shang, but were given distinctly Chinese elements.

By around 1200 B.C. artisans were able to cast large bronze pieces, technology that wasn’t achieved in the Mediterranean for another thousand years. The Shang added lead to the mixture of tin and copper and developed a sophisticated casting process that allowed them to cast bigger and bigger bronze objects. The largest Shang vessel ever discovered weighed 1,900 pounds.

According the Oxford University scholar Jessica Rawson, “the diversity of decorative motives on the bronzes indicated that influence of or manufacture by neighboring, contemporary societies of some sophistication.”

The Shang monopolized the use of bronze tools and weapons while their farmer subjects used only implements made from stone.

During the Shang dynasty and Zhou dynasties jade objects were important objects in ceremonies and rituals. Shang Dynasty circular jades were generally similar to northwestern circular jades. Late Shang pieces featured raised inner rims and thin outer edges, sets of carved concentric circles and images of curling dragons, fish, tigers and birds. The Shang also made monster-face amulets with turquoise-inlay mosaics of swirls and eyes and part-tiger-part-human marble monsters.

Shang Ritual Bronzes

Some of the oldest works of art from China are bronze vessels. The oldest ones date back to the Xia dynasty (2200 to 1766 B.C), when the legendary Yellow Emperor is said to have cast nine bronze tripods to symbolize the nine provinces in his empire.

Most ritual bronze vessels date back to the Shang Dynasty and the Zhou Dynasty (1122-221 B.C). These bronze vessels included elaborately-decorated caldrons, wine jars and water vessels that were used to offer food and drink to spirits, gods and deceased ancestors in political and spiritual ceremonies and rituals. Shang ritual vessels including ding caldrons, used to ritually prepare food for royal ancestors; Lei, large elaborately decorated vessels used to store wine; and yu basins, which may have been used to boil water or steam food.

Bronze vessels symbolized rank and often contained references to ancient imperial ethos, culture and music. One of the National Palace Museum’s most prized bronze pieces is a yu wine container from the 11th century B.C. Another beautiful bronze piece is an 8th century B.C. water vessel, used for ritual offerings, with animal-shaped handles and legs in the form of human figures. Scholars believe the bronze vessels were likely copies of ceramic vessels. A fine white pottery was made during the Shang Dynasty. Many ceramic vessels were similar in size and shape to bronze vessels made during the same period.

Bronze vessels often bore inscriptions that said “This container has been made to commemorate” so and so and were often given as presents to officials from leaders as rewards. Many ancient bronzes were removed from China, especially in the early 20th century, and few have been given back or carefully studied.

Bronze vessels and figures were generally made using the lost wax casting technique, which worked as follows: 1) A form was made of wax molded around a piece of clay. 2) The form was enclosed in a clay mold with pins used to stabilize the form. 3) The mold was fired in a kiln. The mold hardened into a ceramic and the wax burned and melted leaving behind a cavity in the shape of the original form. 4) Metal was poured into the cavity of the mold. A metal sculpture was created and removed by breaking the clay when it was sufficiently cool.

Shang Bronze Decorations and Figures

Most Shang vessels were decorated with taotie, face-like symbols with “eyes” composed of swirling lines. These designs have been used by archeologists to determine the spread of Shang culture. At the bottom of one yu basin is an arrangement of flower stems encircled by dragon heads with holes from which steam escaped from the vessel.

Three-legged bronze vessels from the 12th century B.C. contain images of bears, wolves and tigers. Soldiers from this period wore bronze chest plates engraved with attacking leopards with huge claws, birds with wolf ears and eagle beaks, hawks grabbing bear cubs, tigers leaping on antelopes, and dragons

Other interesting bronze art from the Shang Dynasty includes bronze masks that look like bizarre Halloween masks and may have been used by shamans; and a slender nine-foot-high-tall figure with stylized shamanist-style head and enormous hands that once held an elephant tusk.

Shang bronzes fetch high prices at international art auctions and are sought after by looters. A 12th century B.C. Shang owl was sold for around $3 million at an auction in 2000.

Life in the Shang Dynasty

Most ordinary Shang lived in thatched roof huts with pounded earth foundations, supported by wooden poles placed in stoned-filled trenches. Excavations of Shang villages show a large number of pits which could have been used for storage or as underground dwellings.


Shang jade ox Cowrie shells were used as currency. They most likely originated in the Indian Ocean. Wheat, millet and rice were cultivated by farmers. Analysis of 3,000-year-old bronze vessels revealed that the Shang drank rice and millet wines flavored with herbs, flowers and tree resins.

Many Chinese scholars have claimed that the Shang practiced slavery but this may be based more on making data fit the Marxist model of evolution than on hard evidence. In the tens of thousands of oracle bones there are no references to slavery or the purchase of people.

Discovery of the Oracle Bones

The first oracle bones were discovered in 1899. According to legend a member of the family of scholar Wang Yirong came down with malaria and was prescribed ground up turtle shells as a treatment. The shells arrived pre-ground. Wang noticed that some of them had scratchings on them that looked like Chinese writing. After that he began collected shells and bones with similar scratchings—oracle bones—and analyzing them and writing about his findings. His research came to a sudden end when he committed suicide by taking poison and jumping down a well during the Boxer Rebellion.

The source of the oracle bones was an area near a small village called Xiaotun near Anyang. Dealers in “dragon bones” kept the site secret to maintain their monopoly. When archeologist finally discovered the site they began doing serious excavations, unearthing more than 100,000 inscribed fragments in the 1920s

When the Oracles bones were discovered scholars were able to decipher some of them immediately. The oracle bones were the first hard archeological evidence of the Shang dynasty’s existence. There were historical documents that referred to the Shang but many Western scholars dismissed them as mythical.

Shang Excavations

A number of excavations were carried out around Anyang in Henan Province in the 1920s and 30s by Li Ji, a Harvard PhD who introduced rigorous scientific method to the study of ancient China. Excavations of the Shang capital, known as Yinxu, near Anyang, began before World War II. Archaeologists explored more than 11 royal tombs and 1,000 other graves and found the foundations of temples, palaces and shrines.

Lady Hao’s tomb was excavated in 1976 under less than ideal conditions. The pit filled in with water as it was being excavated, because archeologists did not have access to pumps, and peasants groped for relics in the muck while they drank shots of grain alcohol to stay warm. After the excavation was completed a study session was held in which Lady Lao was scolded for accumulating wealth by taking advantage of workers.

Huanbei is a Shang site dated to the 14th century B.C. and discovered in 1996. Mapping of the area has revealed an entire city, with walls that enclosed nearly two square miles

It is believed that the Shang took their name from the first capital city they occupied. Archeologists are currently searching for this city. According to historical sources the Shang dynasty rulers were buried and a royal house of worship was erected in their first capital. Chinese-born, retired Harvard archeologist K.C. Lang believes this city is in Shangqiu (literally the “mound of Shang”) in Henan province.


Excavation of the Tomb of Fu Mao

Shang and America Connection?

Chinese Shang scholar Han Ping Chen believes that the founders of the Olmec civilization in Mexico—which emerged suddenly in 1,200 B.C. and influenced the Maya and Aztec civilizations—was influenced by the Shang dynasty. He bases his theory on the fact that Mesoamerican jade blades, called celts, have markings that are almost identical to Shang-era Chinese characters.

After examining six polished celts on a trip to the United States in 1996, Han exclaimed, “I can read this easily. Clearly, these are Chinese characters.” He also asserted that achievements made by early New World civilization was made with help from the same people who introduced the Chinese characters. [Source: U.S. News and World Report]

Other similarities between Chinese and ancient Mesoamerican cultures include the resemblance of the Aztec board game atolli and the Asian game parcheesi; the custom of placing jade beads in the mouthes of the deceased; and the fact that important religious deities were inspired by tigers-jaguars and dragonlike creatures.

It is not impossible for an ancient vessel to have been blown off course across the Pacific to America. Ancient Chinese mariners were highly skilled. Some anthropologist believe they sailed to Indonesia and islands in the Pacific 2,000 years ago. It also quite possible that the ancient Mesoamerican cultures independently developed stuff that was similar to Chinese stuff.

End of Shang Dynasty

Weakened by corruption and decay, the Shang dynasty was overpowered in 1050-25 BC by the Zhou, a Chinese dynasty to the west that also knew how to effectively use horses, chariots and compound bows.

The 29th and final Shang king, Di Xin, was known for his indulgences, appetites and whims. He reportedly hosted orgiastic parties around a palace pool filled with wine and ordered those who displeased him to be taken away and executed. Historians doubt the veracity these tales, namely because they come from Zhou and Han dynasty sources, which likely portrayed dynasties before them as evil to make themselves look good.

Sanxingdui Culture

The Sanxingdui were contemporaries of the Shang that lived in a fertile area watered by Yangtze tributaries in what is now southwestern Sichuan Province. Thus far two main Sanxingdui sites have been found: one near the Sichuan village of Sanxingdui, after which the culture is named, and another about 50 miles away in Jinsha. Sanxingdui is about 70 miles away from the Shang heartland.

The Sanxingdui culture was discovered in 1986, when stunning bronzes–radically different from anything found at the Shang sites and dated to around 1200 B.C.–were unearthed near Sanxingdui. It is unlikely the Sanxingdui and the Shang had much contact because of large mountains that divided them. There is no mention of Sichuan area in the oracle bones but excavations in Sanxingdui have revealed large numbers of cowrie shells like this found in the Shang areas. Jinsha is a suburb of Chengdu. The site was discovered by construction workers. Among the relic that were unearthed were gold headgear, a gold mask, jewelry and elephant tusks.

The Sanxingdui culture had no writing. They buried their dead with valuable objects but didn’t appear to have practiced human sacrifice. Their custom of burying the dead with bronze heads and figures suggested they may have been human substitutes.

The remains of other cultures have been found which have led archaeologists and historians to theorize that perhaps the Shang were not as dominant in their area as once thought and were one of many cultures that existed at that time. Princeton University historian Robert Bagley told National Geographic, “What is certain at the moment is only that early Bronze Age China was a more complicated place than we used to suppose.”

Sanxingdui Art

The Sanxingdui sites have yielded elephant tusks, gold objects, bronze masks, jade pieces, gold pieces, a 13-foot-high bronze tree that looks an upside down candelabra, heads and figures with slender heads, slanted eyes, grim expressions and protruding eyeballs. A totem to a god or king features a bronze head covered by a gilded mask that looks like a space alien. The most famous Sanxingduipiece is an 8½-foot-tall human figure that also has an otherworldly alien look.

At one site hundreds of jade, bronze gold and stone artifacts, collectively weighing more than a ton, were found burned or broken and then buried in two pits. The first pit was mostly filled with pig, sheep, cattle and buffalo bones. Most of the objects of value were found in the second pit, which was topped by 67 elephant tusks. Scholars have speculated that the objects were either offerings or valuables destroyed to keep them out of the hands of an approaching enemy.

The pits were part of tomb of Emperor Wen, the Tuskman of Sanxingdui. It was built in 1200 B.C., more than a thousand years before the terra cotta army of Emperor Qin.

The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( Continiu )

THE ART MOTIF OF CHINA IMPERIAL CERAMIC FOUND IN INDONESIA

PART THREE

PART III. STUDIES RESULTS

 

By

Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

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The Three Pure One OF the Taoist Trinity

San Qing (Taoist Trinity) refers to three supreme Gods respected by Taoism, including Celestial Worthy of Primordial Beginning, Celestial Worthy of Numinous Treasure and Celestial Worthy of the Tao and its Power.

 

Taoist TrinityTaoist Trinity

Worship for the Taoist Trinity dates back to the 4th century. In fact, it is an avatar of philosophic idea, and the reflection of the cosmism supported by Taoism.

 The Jade Pure One

The Jade Pure One (Chinese: 玉清; pinyin: Yùqīng), also known as “The Universally Honoured One of Origin”, or “The Universal Lord of Primordial Beginning” (Chinese: 元始天尊; pinyin: Yuánshǐ Tiānzūn)

The Supreme Pure One

The Supreme Pure One (Chinese: 上清; pinyin: Shàngqīng), is also known as “The Universally Honoured One of Divinities and Treasures”, or “The Universal Lord of the Numinous Treasure” (靈寶天尊, Lingbao Tianzun).
“In terms of worldview, the emergence of the Shàngqīng revelations signifies a major expansion of Taoism. Where the celestial masters had added the pure gods of the Tao to the popular pantheon, Shàngqīng enlarged this to include an entirely new layer of existence between the original, creative force of the Tao, represented by the deity “yuan shi tian wang” (heavenly king of primordial beginning), and created world as we know it. This celestial layer consisted of several different regions, located both in the far reaches of the world and in the stars, and imagined along the lines of the ancient paradises Penglai and Kunlun. It was populated by various divine figures: pure gods of the Tao who were emanations of original cosmic qi; immortals who had attained celestial status through effort and the proper elixir…”
The Supreme Pure One is associated with yin and yang and was responsible as the custodian of the sacred book. Shangqing also calculates time and divides it into different epochs.

The Grand Pure One

The Grand Pure One (Chinese: 太清; pinyin: Tàiqīng), also known as “The Universally Honoured One of Tao and Virtues” or “The Universal Lord of the Way and its Virtue” (道德天尊, Daode Tianzun) or the “Grand Supreme Elder Lord” (太上老君, Taishang Laojun).
It is believed that Taishang Laojun manifested himself in the form of Laozi. The Grand Pure One is also the treasurer of spirits, known as the Lord of Man who is the founder of Taoism. He is the most eminent, aged ruler, which is why he is the only Pure One depicted with a pure white beard.
“There seem to have been a number of stages in the process of Laozi’s eventual deification. First, the legendary figure began as a teacher and writer whose image eventually blended with that of the Yellow Emperor when Laozi came to be identified as a confidant of royalty. Traditional accounts, such as the life-story summarized earlier, transformed him into a cultural hero whose mother conceived him virginally. By the mid-second century C.E., Laozi had become the deity who delivered to Zhang Daoling the revelation of a new religious faith, giving rise to the Celestial Master’s school. His image was still not complete. Next, perhaps, also around the second or third century CE, Laozi seems to have been identified as a creator god who also enters the world to rescue humanity from tribulation. Laozi was now capable of incarnating himself, almost like Buddhist bodhisattva. Not long thereafter he joined the triad of the Three Pure Ones, and finally Laozi emerged as the chief divine person. We have here one of the more interesting examples of apotheosis, or deification, in the history of religion.”
According to Daozang, The Universally Honoured One of Tao and Virtues had manifested many various incarnations to teach living beings, and Laozi is one of his incarnations.
Each of the Three Pure Ones represents both a deity and a heaven. The first heaven is Yu-Qing, and it is found in the Jade Mountain, The entrance to this heaven is named the Golden Door. “He is the source of all truth, as the sun is the source of all light”. The Grand Pure One (Lao-Jun) rules over the heaven of Tai-Qing. The Supreme Pure One (Ling-Bao Tian-Song) rules over the heaven of Shang-Qing. The Three Pure Ones are often depicted as throned elders.
Schools of Taoist thought developed around each of these deities. Taoist Alchemy was a large part of these schools, as each of the Three Pure Ones represented one of the three cinnabar fields of the body: jing, qi and shen. The congregation of all three Pure Ones resulted in the return to Tao.
The first pure one is universal or heavenly chi. The second pure one is human plane chi and third pure one is earth chi. Heavenly chi includes the chi or energy of all the planets, stars and constellations as well as the energy of god (the force of creation and universal love). Human plane chi is the energy that exists on the surface of our planet and sustains human life and the earth force includes all of the forces inside the planet as well as the five elemental forces.

In Taoism’s opinion, the Taoist Trinity lives in a far and mysterious fairyland, and governs countless other Gods while supervising the social life of human beings. Among them, the Celestial Worthy of the Primordial Beginning has the highest status, which is the creator of the whole world, like Chinese Lord. As for the Celestial Worthy of Numinous Treasure, he is fit for the demand of lower-class people. The Celestial Worthy of the Tao and its Power is mostly regarded as the primogenitor of Taoism, Lao Zi.

Common Taoist temples all have their statues placed. The temples specially built for them are called Palace or the Hall of Taoist Trinity. Usually the Celestial Worthy of the Primordial Beginning is placed in the middle, symbolizing the original state of the world. On his left side is the Celestial Worthy of Numinous Treasure, who holds a hermaphrodite mirror, symbolizing the world that has just come out of the muddleheaded status. On the right side is Celestial Worthy of the Tao and its Power, who holds a fan that is painted with a hermaphrodite mirror, symbolizing the beginning status when the world was first created. In the Taoist art, the content about the status and paintings of Taoist Trinity is abundant. Today, a lot of excellent works are kept.

 

 TOAD Liu Hai

 The Daoist (Taoist) Toads Page

The toad is an auspicious animal in East Asia, especially in its three-legged form. Although associated specifically with China’s Daoist traditions, toads have long been a well-known symbol in Chinese culture generally, and throughout East Asia as well. It is known by a variety of names. In Chinese, for example, it is known today as hama 蛤蟆, but numerous variations on this name are possible, such as 蝦 蟆, 蝦蜍, 蟾蜍. In Japanese one word for toad is gama 蝦蟇 (pronounced gamo  in some places), as well as hikigaeru 蟇蛙 and ibogaeru 疣蛙 (“wart frog”). A gamaguchi 蝦蟇口 (“toad mouth”) is a coin purse.

The Toad in the Moon and the Legend of Chang-e 嫦娥

(Chinese mythological and legendary figures)

You may not know that a huge toad, often depicted with only three legs, lives in the moon (actually, more commonly it is a large white hare, but lets not worry about that story here). According to legend, Chang-e, was the wife of supernatural archer Hou Yi 后羿 (ca. 2500 bce in traditional accounts). Hou Yi obtained an elixir of immortality from the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu 西王母) to enable him to remain forever on guard against certain cosmic problems (the details of which need not concern us here). But Chang-e stole the elixir and fled to the moon. In this version of the tale, Chang-e is a symbol of vanity and arrogance (another version). Apparently, she regarded herself as the most beautiful woman in the world, treated Hou Yi (and everyone else) with contempt, and thought that if anyone were to attain immortal life it should be her. The Queen Mother of the West became angry upon hearing of this theft and turned Chang-e into a toad (sometimes depicted with four legs, often with three). Chang-e remains in that state to this day. This moon-toad-Chang-e is sometimes depicted pounding medicine, using a large mortar and pestle (though often a hare replaces the toad in this particular  image). The idea here is that the toad was condemned forever to compound and re-compound the elixir that Chang-e stole. This point leads to two deeply-rooted notions about toads in China. First, toads are symbols of longevity (along with pine trees, peaches, gourds, certain mushrooms, and many other things). Second, toads are thought to have medicinal properties. Toad skin, for example, might cure infected wounds and certain rashes when applied to them directly or as “toad grease” (There is also a Mt. Tsukuba Toad Festival in Japan). Also according to traditional accounts, it is possible to extract material from toads that can be made into a pill to alleviate heart conditions.

Associations with Daoist Immortals and Recluses 仙人

When associated with Daoist immortals, the toad also took on certain additional associations derived from its basic meaning as a symbol of longevity. The famous Daoist immortal Liu Hai became closely associated with a large toad that accompanied him as a companion. The ugliness of the toad was, on the contrary, a form of beauty to immortals, who had abandoned the prejudices of human society and culture for a life in close harmony with the natural world. Liu Hai is also depicted with a string of money, and, in popular lore, toads also became associated with gold coins. Images of Liu Hai with his toad and coins serve as lucky talismans in popular folklore (e.g., the second image below). Sometimes other immortal recluses such as Hanshan 寒山 and Shide 拾得 (collectively known as He-he 和合) are depicted with toads. Similarly, the toad became a symbol of carefree frivolity and spontaneous enjoyment of the here-and-now. Keep these points in mind when viewing the images below. You might also notice the prevalence of bottle-gourds in many of the images. The bottle-gourd (hulu 葫蘆 and other names) has long been a complex symbol of good fortune and magic power in Chinese and Japanese culture.

The images on this page are thumbnails. Click any of them to view the full-sized picture.

Various images of Liu Hai and Xiamo  (you may have to look closely to see the toad):

Ca. 18th-early 20th century: ;   ; Ca. 17th century or earlier: ;   ;   ;   .

Image of Hanshan and Shide with a toad:

.

Chinese symbol of Water

   The earliest form of the Chinese symbol for water was a river with dots on both sides representing drops of water. The number of drops varied but gradually it was fixed as two for each side. Over time, it became the form we see today.

Hence the Chinese symbol for water shui originally represented the river, and in general “areas of water” like the sea and lake (as opposed to land lu4).

From this meaning, shui denotes liquid in general as in “tears” lei4 shui3 and “medicinal liquid” yao4 shui3

Water in Chinese thought: 

 

Water is one of the five elements (together with fire, wood, earth, gold).

This element is associated with the North, the color black, and the moon (i.e moon’s gravitational pull creates dew).

Water symbolises Yin, the female principle, which is the counterpart of Yang, the male principle (representing fire and the South).

In the old Chinese view of the cosmos, fire and water arose from the same source. The union of Yin and Yang gave birth to the five elements, which in turn brought about the “ten thousand things” in the world.

Water belongs to night and fire to day. Many Chinese expressions about the intimate relations between man and woman involve the Chinese symbol for water.

The character of water is soft, yielding and pliant, as a (traditional) Chinese woman should be. “Weak overcomes strong, soft overcomes hard” so said Laozi in the Taoist text, Dao De Jing.

According to Laozi (also spelled Laotze), water’s character is the best example of proper behavior. This behaviour allows the “weak” to overcome the “strong” (and hence a woman to overcome a man). I put the words weak and strong in inverted commas because these two opposite states depend on the relative perception of others.

In business and in life being “soft, pliant and yielding” like water is a wise way to prevent and solve many interpersonal problems.

There are many expressions associated with the Chinese symbol for water. Here are a few:

“shui3 di1 shi2 chuan1″ – Dripping water (shui di) wears through a rock (shi chuan) over time. As long as a person is persistent, the impossible will become possible.

“shui3 luo4 shi2 chu1″ – When the water subsides (shui luo), the stone will show itself (shi chu). The truth of the matter will eventually be known.

“shui3 dao4 ju2 cheng2″ – When water flows, a channel is formed.Everything will fall into place when the time comes.

“shui3 di1 lao1 yue4″ – Dredge the moon out from the bottom of the water.To do something based on an illusion. Hence, there is no result.

God Of Wind And Thunder

GODS OF WIND AND THUNDER
The Gods of Wind (Fūjin 風神) and Thunder (Raijin 雷神)
 were later added to this grouping of 28 protector deities.

Says JAANUS: These two gods are based on Hindu deities (Skt. = Vayu and Varun) and Chinese dieties (Fengshe 風神 and Leigong 雷公). In Esoteric Buddhism (Mikkyō 密教), the Wind God is included among the Twelve Deva (Jūniten 十二天) as Fūten 風天, and among the Guardians of the Eight Directions (Happōten 八方天) as the guardian of the northwest. The Wind God is also associated with the constellation Sagittarius (Jp: Iteza 射手座). <end quote>

Rain God (Raijin), Sanjusangendo, scan from temple brochure
Raijin (God of Thunder)
Surrounded by drums, holds hammer to beat drums
13th century, wood, Sanjūsangendō in Kyoto
Scanned from temple brochure
Wind God (Fuujin), Sanjusangendo, scan from temple brochure
Fūjin / Fujin (God of Wind)
13th century, wood, Sanjūsangendō in Kyoto
 Scanned from temple brochure

Raijin, Thunder God, Sanjusangendo in Kyoto Fujin, Wind God, Sanjusangendo in Kyoto

L: Raijin (Thunder God)   R: Fūjin (Wind God)

 

Sacred Wind

Chinese Willow

 18th Century Qing Blue & White Willow Pattern Tea Bowl Porcelain photo

The Willow Pattern 1760-1820

The first standard pattern that was developed onto Chinese export porcelain by its popularity and success is a nowadays loosely held together group called the Willow Pattern.

Printed Spode Willow Pattern
 
Printed ‘Willow Pattern’ on English Spode porcelain

It seems likely that the patterns as such were designed in England based on earlier Chinese prints or paintings of river scenes. The two main variations of this pattern differs mainly is their borders and are called Spode and Mosquito pattern respectively. The illustration to the left is of the actual printed English Spode pattern.

The Spode factory in England was established in 1770. Its “willow” border is built up by irregular geometric designs clearly distinguishing it from the “mosquito” border, also called the “brocade” border, the latter having more rounded shapes, being as I see it more artistic and containing more of recognizable Chinese symbols.

Other sources have it that the Willow pattern plainly was created by Thomas Turner at Caughley Pottery Works in Shropshire about 1780.

As a proof of the Willow pattern actually being an English design an alleged Chinese story are often used. It was published in an old Victorian magazine “The Family Friend” in 1849 connecting the “Willow pattern” to a romantic love story where a young student falls in love with the daughter of a corrupt Mandarin.  

The story went:

Long ago, in the days when China was ruled by emperors, a Chinese mandarin, Tso Ling, lived in the magnificent pagoda under the branches of the apple tree on the right of the bridge, over which droops the famous willow tree, and in front of which is seen the graceful lines of the fence. Tso Ling was the father of a beautiful girl, Kwang-se, who was the promised bride of an old but wealthy merchant.

 The girl, however, fell in love with Chang, her father’s clerk. The lovers eloped across the sea to the cottage on the island. The mandarin pursued and caught the lovers and was about to have them killed when the gods transformed them into a pair of turtle doves. These are seen gazing into each other’s eyes at the top of the design. A lengthy and old Staffordshire poem of the pattern concludes with the verse: “In the oft quoted plate two birds are perceived, High in the heaven above: These are the spirits of Chang and Kwang-se, A twin pair of ever in love”.

To me it seems very likely that this story is based on the pattern rather then the other way around. As a matter of fact nine out of ten Qing dynasty stories contains an evil mandarin and a beautiful girl somehow, as is pointed out in “The Dream of Red Mansion”.

If a Chinese literary source is sought it is worth noticing that the pattern actually much better would fit “The Romance of the Western Chamber”, a quite frivolous little piece, quite popular, and quite forbidden in China by the end of the 18th century.

Nanking 1780-1820

A close relative to the Willow pattern is the Nanking group of pieces, characterized by its higher quality, a specific square cell diaper border outlined with a spearhead border and with a more general landscape setting with houses and water in a river landscape, dating also from the 1780’s.

The quality of the porcelain made for export to the West is really often the same or better than what was made for the Chinese regular market, sometimes competing in quality with Imperial wares.

The often-repeated “truth”, that the export porcelain as a rule was of less quality because of some kind of contempt for the westerners, is a myth. However, the Chinese were of course always prepared to make porcelain of as low quality as the customer wanted..

Imperial Quality Export and the FitzHugh, 1760-1810

Imperial quality Export Porcelain

“Imperial quality” blue and white export porcelain
on ultra white high kaolin porcelain base.

From the 1760s and onwards a special kind of superior “Imperial quality Export Porcelain” came to be, possible in competition with the European porcelain factories that by now started to be able to transfer print engraved decoration at great ease. This made the Chinese trying to outdo this, but by hand. These extreme efforts resulted in a group of very rare high quality porcelain on a white and thin porcelain.

 

The Tradition of Blue Willow: How does the generational gap and disconnect from the Irish homeland affect cultural traditions on Beaver Island such as the meaning of “blue willow” ceramics?

For the Irish, traditions passed down from one generation to the next have played a large role in daily life. From the sean-nós-inspired music to the religious celebrations emphasizing St. Bridget and St. Patrick, the sense of community and celebration was and is deeply embedded in their cultural ways (Ó Droighneáin 2011). With a history of immigration, however, many of the Irish cultural customs have been influenced and altered. One tradition in particular which has evolved is that of the blue willow, a Chinese inspired ceramic (Figure 1). The symbolic meaning linked with the blue willow has transformed here in America as generations of Irish youth have become disconnected from the Irish homeland.

Although urban Irish American communities have been extensively studied, new research shows that the changing tradition of the blue willow can also be found in isolated immigrant communities such as that of the Árainn Mhór people on Beaver Island, Michigan. Through the analysis of the Gallagher homestead on Beaver Island, which was inhabited by two generations of an Irish immigrant family, it is possible to see that the symbolic meaning and traditional use of the blue willow ceramic changed from one generation to the next possibly due to the island’s disconnect from the Irish mainland and the cultural effects of the Beaver Island Lumber Company.

Background: The Blue Willow

             Blue transfer-printed whiteware china known as “blue willow” holds great meaning and prominence in Irish history. Found in almost every home or establishment, the blue willow pattern depicts a classic forbidden love scene that is relatable and enticing. In an old poem, the forbidden love story was told by mothers to their children as follows:

“So she tells me a legend centuries old

Of a Mandarin rich in lands and gold,

Of Koong-Shee fair and Chang the good,

Who loved each other as lovers should.

How they hid in the gardener’s hut awhile,

Then fled away to the beautiful isle.

Though a cruel father pursued them there,

And would have killed the hopeless pair,

But kindly power, by pity stirred,

Changed each into a beautiful bird.

…..

Here is the apple tree where they talked,

Here they are running away,

And over all at the top you see,

The birds making love alway(s)” (Dessoie 2010)

 

Aside from being an affordable piece of china that could be displayed throughout the home, the message of freedom from restriction can be thought of as symmetrical to the many Catholic Irish who faced persecution during their lives (Fitzgerald et al. 2011). A symbol of hope and a better future, the blue willow could have made its way into the heart of the Irish tradition and into the culture of everyday life.

Blue Willow on Beaver Island

In the analysis of artifacts from the Gallagher Homestead, it is clear that the first-generation Irish family, John and Margaret Early who occupied the home from 1882-1912, was fond of the blue willow. With at least eight different vessels of blue willow transfer print whiteware recovered during excavations (Rotman et al 2011: 223), the ceramic was a part of everyday Irish life on the island. Its prominence makes sense considering the symbolic meaning many from Ireland attach to the blue willow. In an account given by Caroline Carr of the Donegal County Council in Ireland, the blue willow is described as a favored china used only when important visitors came to the house and was “more of a status symbol- the more you had displayed and not used”(Rotman et al. 2011: 225). A symbol of ancestry and in some cases luck, this meaning of the blue willow could have been brought over the first generation Earlys’ themselves.

 It is interesting to note that  even the German family, Joseph and Mary Warner, who lived in the homestead before the Earlys’, has blue willow archaeologically connected to them. Although not Irish themselves, they lived in a community full of Irish families and Mrs. Warner even lived with the Early family after her husband died (Collar 2011). With the blue willow used possibly to show friendship, this German family could have been given or used the blue willow as acknowledgment of their acceptance into the Irish community (Rotman and Clay 2008).

 The second-generation of Earlys’ occupied the homestead from mid-1880s to about 1912 (Collar 2011). The archaeological record from this occupation reveals that something changed in terms of the tradition of blue willow. Although vessels were associated with the second-generation, none of them were the blue willow pattern (Rotman et al. 2011:223). Why is this so? With blue willow obviously prominent in the first-generation of Earlys’, why is it that the second-generation decided to abandon the ceramic all together? One reason could be that the second-generation of Earlys’ began to see the blue willow in a different light. With the introduction of the culturally-diverse Beaver Island Lumber Company to the Michigan island at around the same time Patrick and Mary Early began to occupy the house, it would have been easy for the second-generation Irish American family to pick up on how the rest of the world was viewing this traditional Irish china.

Outside the isolated island in urban Irish communities, such as that of Five Points in New York, the traditional blue willow print was seen as “preferred by non-elite families” (Rotman et al. 2011:224). Overproduced, it was thought of as cheap and associated with people of low social status (Rotman et al. 2011:224).  The workers at the Beaver Island Lumber Company could have possibly brought these ideas towards blue willow with them challenging its traditional meaning of love, hope, and family. In order to fit into the changing culture of the island and secure a comfortable future, Patrick and Mary Early could have abandoned the blue willow seeing it no longer for its traditional meaning, but as a symbol of Irish tradition and “backwardness,” an object holding their generation back from the new American life.

Questions regarding the tradition of the Irish and blue willow on Beaver Island:

  1. 1.     How could disconnect from Ireland have caused the second generation to view the importance of blue willow differently?
  2. 2.     What would Irish traditions on Beaver Island have looked like today if the Beaver Island Lumber Company had not been established?
  3. 3.     What is the symbolic meaning behind blue willow today? Is it now a part of the tradition of Irish identity?

Written Character

The evolution of Chinese charater

Art Symbol  Yin and Yang

yin and yang glowing symbol  Stock Photo - 12705964

In Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang (in the West often referred to as yin and yang) is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Like night and day, ebb and flow or in the case of this Japanese proverb; vision and action. They need each other, for else they become illusionary forces – either a daydream or a nightmare. Did you notice how in the West ‘yin yang’ is referred to as ‘yin and yang’? Apparently in Asian philosophy there is no need for and in yin (and) yang, meaning: in Asia the yin yang concept is considered as one, while in the West it is perceived as two separate forces, that potentially is one, depending on the presence of the word 

 Torture of the Budisht Hell

Where to experience Buddhist hell

A quick guide to Buddhism’s torture chambers and where to find some of the most grotesque sites of purgatory

 
 

Buddhist hell in Thailand

A diorama of torture appears inside the “Hell Dome” next to Wat Phumin in Nan.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Come to Thailand and go straight to hell.

Hieronymus Bosch’s medieval Garden of Earthly Delights and other paintings include sinners in a Christian hell, but if the Dutch artist is ever reincarnated as a Buddhist, he might be intrigued by Thailand’s temple murals and larger-than-life statues of horrific karmic punishments.

Want to copulate in an immoral tryst?  Murder someone? Or violate some other important Buddhist precept?

You will soon find yourself in the midst of fiendish demons gleefully boiling wide-eyed sinners in hot, bubbling cauldrons. You’ll be screaming among men and women who have been stripped naked to maximize the pain when they are shoved onto huge, body-piercing spikes.

Buddhist hell

A man is sawn in half in a hand-sized bas relief creation which decorates Chiang Mai’s tranquil Wat Chai Mongkol, near the Ping river.Naughty individuals are also eaten alive by gigantic pterodactyl-like birds or gnarly, salivating creatures which savor human flesh.

Indulging in gambling, drugs, and other popular vices can also result in a trip to Buddhism’s torture chambers.

To witness all this, simply climb aboard any bus or train to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Udon Thani or many other towns and ask the locals for directions to “narak” (hell).

You will be joining an increasing number of artists, writers, photographers, anthropologists, religious scholars and other travelers who are wandering Thailand, clutching maps which lead to some the most grotesque sites of purgatory ever displayed.

A punishment to fit the crime

Buddhism’s hell exists to warn people not to degenerate, and punish those who do.

About 2,500 years ago, the Buddha said suffering is caused by lust, discontentment, hunger, desire, sloth, cowardice, doubt, hypocrisy and false fame, according to translations of the ancient Pali-language “Padhana Sutta.”

But the Buddha never turned hell into a successful tourist attraction.

Thailand’s theme-park versions of hell are unique, disturbing, amusing, inspiring and often quite gross.

They include huge cement-and-plaster statues erected outdoors, and colorful detailed murals on the walls of temples.

Buddhist Hell

These illustrations of punishments in hell can be purchased at shops in Thailand selling Buddhist supplies.Buddhism is free of an imaginary “god.” But people can suffer while passing through hell after they die, on their way to reincarnation.

In Pali language, for example, “apaya-bhumi” can be defined as a “state of deprivation, the four lower levels of existence into which one might be reborn as a result of past unskillful actions,” or a consequence of a person’s behavior while alive, according to an online Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

Those four zones include “rebirth” in hell, or elsewhere in the underworld as a “hungry ghost,” or “angry demon” or — if your misdeeds were not so evil — simply as an animal. 

If you do get dropped into hell, the good news is you don’t have to stay forever.

The bad news is you may be stuck down there for thousands, millions or billions of years — or longer. Buddhists believe you go to hell because of the “cause and effect” of your behavior, a personalized concept of inevitable reward or punishment known as “karma.”

Thais have a simple phrase to describe this idea —  “Do good, get good. Do bad, get bad” (Tam dee, die dee. Tam chua, die chua) — which is obviously practical advice.

“There are virtually unlimited number of hells in the Buddhist cosmology as there are infinite number of Buddha worlds,” according to the Buddha Dharma Education Association.

Many Buddhists believe that after you die, you will be hauled in to see Phya Yom, the Death King. His stern assistants scrutinize your dossier to see how many good and bad deeds have been recorded.

Then the Death King decides where to send you. 

“If you meet the Devil in this life, don’t postpone merit-making which will help you to defeat him in the next life.” — Sign at Wang Saen Suk

Imagine what awaits the fallen in such places as Samjiva’s “hell of constant repetition,” Kalasutra’s “hell of black wire,” Raurava’s “hell of lamentation” as well as the familiar fire and brimstone of Pratapana’s “hell of fiercely scorching heat.”

Extremely cold hells include Arbuda’s “hell of swelling,” Nirarbuda’s “hell of shrinking,” Hahava’s “hell of shivering tongue,” and Utpala’s “hell of blue lotus-colored patches on the skin.”

When you finish Buddhism’s rehab in hell, you can eventually become a human again, countless times, and work on your karma some more until you achieve enlightenment.

Sound like fun for the whole family? Some of Thailand’s best hellish places are where Thai parents bring their young children, to try and shock them into never behaving badly.

These gory displays are scattered throughout the country, but some favorite “outdoor gardens” include the following. 

Wat Ban Waeng, also known as Wat Luang Pho Nahk

This Buddhist temple is about 50 kilometers northwest of Udon Thani, and offers a sexy display of pleasurable lures accompanied by lurking painful retribution.

Seemingly happy, plump, nude “damsels” dangle from the branches of a tree, like chubby female mannequins waiting to be plucked and played with.

hell in Thailand

The “Hell Dome” next to Nan’s Wat Phumin houses a life-sized diorama of torture.

The White Temple, at Wat Rong Khun

A modern creation, near Chiang Rai, by artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.

Dazzling, psychedelic, detailed statuary portrays gargoyle-style creatures, disembodied human hands and other intense imagery.

Wang Saen Suk

About 90 minutes’ drive from Bangkok on the way to Pattaya, these statues are typical of hells elsewhere but conveniently located if you are heading to the coast.

Signs beckon: “Welcome to Hell!” and “If you meet the Devil in this life, don’t postpone merit-making which will help you to defeat him in the next life.”

Wat Pai Rong Rua

Also close to Bangkok, the temple includes a gigantic Buddha more than 50 meters tall which can be seen from the highway.

Wat Mae Kaet

About 14 kilometers from Chiang Mai in Ban Mae Kaet village.  

Some of its outdoor statues can be considered cute, but others may become your worst nightmares. 

Heaven and Hell Tapan Cave

Phang Nga town offers a unique site of fierce attacks, including orifice abuse, decapitation, whipping, lynching, amputations and other assaults amid tropical greenery.

Wat Phumin

In Nan, a room-sized “Hell Dome” contains a life-sized diorama of torture. 

Other ‘hellish’ hotspots

Chiang Rai white temple

Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai features disembodied human hands and other intense imagery.Hell is also depicted on some temples as bas relief, which are much less dramatic but a few of the tiny creations decorating Chiang Mai’s tranquil Wat Chai Mongkol, near the Ping river, are quite nice.

Each the size of a person’s hand, some of the golden figures against a blood-red background show a man being sawed in half, plus other violence. 

Nearby, a snow-white background highlights gold-colored people falling into a boiling pot, while the Buddha serenely meditates. 

Further north, at Chiang Khan’s Wat Si Khun Meuang along the Mekong river, an evocative wall painting portrays the boiling of humans, with an ox-headed man adding to the misery, though most of the temple’s paintings avoid pictures of punishment.

In Bangkok and other cities, Buddhist supply shops sell prayer books, posters, and spiritual lectures on DVDs, and also stock cartoon-like illustrations showing how various sins lead to punishment in hell.

Some portray a man in a massage parlor, or snorting drugs next to a squat toilet, or trying to steal, despite the proximity of the dreaded Death King. Printed on cardboard, these colorful, inexpensive drawings are suitable for framing

The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( Continiu )

THE ART MOTIF OF CHINA IMPERIAL CERAMIC FOUND IN INDONESIA

PART THREE

PART III. STUDIES RESULTS

 

By

Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

Private Limited E-Book In CD-Rom Edition

Special For Senior Reseacher And Collectors

Copyright @ 2013

THIS THE SAMPLE OF Dr Iwan Limited E-Book In CD-Rom with unedited non complete info illustration, the complete CD-Rom exist but only for premium member please subscribe via comment with your email address and private information same as  your ID-Card

 

Driwancybermuseum Homeoffice  

3.4.4

Based Frng shui Lilian Too Good Fortune (1999)

Berdasarkan Frng shui Good Fortune Lilian Too(1999)

 3.4,4. a

 chinese symbols wallpaper

MOTIF SYMBOL OF WEALTH AND SUCCESS
1). COINS CHINA
2) Vase
3) Beetle)frog)
4) Fish
5) dragon with phoenix
6) Chillin
7) dragon turtle
8) pumpkins

(MOTIF )SIMBOL KEKAYAAN DAN SUKSES

1).KOIN CINA

2) Vase

3)Kodok

4)Ikan

5)naga dengan burung phoenix

6)Chillin

7)kura-kura naga

8)buah labu

3.4,4. b.

(Motif) longevity Symbol

 Chinese New Year symbols - Longevity

1) God of Longevity LAU
2) Birds Stork
3) Pine Tree
4) Peaches
5) bamboo tree
6) Deer
7) Tortoise
8) Eight god (god of immortality or eight immortal)
(1) Chung Li Chuan with fan symbol, god of longevity and provide energy that never stops (end)
(2) Chang Kuo-Lao Changdengan symbols give descendants banbu tube (prevents sterile)
(3) Pin Dong Lu (Lu Tung Pin) with a sword and a thermos fly symbol popped disease
(4) Guo Chiu Tsao (Tsao kuo-chiu) with the symbol for music bestows blessings to those who seek power
(5) Lie Tieh Guai (Li Tieh Kuai) with the symbol of bottle gourd, most berkausa of Delan gods bestowed wisdom
(6) Xian Tzu Han (Han Hsing-tzu) with flutes, restoring energy
(7) Tsai Ho Lan (Lan Tsai-ho) to deliver flowers clad blessing for the girls
(8) Ku Hsien Ho (Ko-Ku Tsien) with lotus symbol, bestowing good luck in the family and marriage
9) herb of immortality Ling zhi
10) Queen of the West Hsi Mu-wang
11) Shou Longevity Calligraphy
12) Three Star Gods Fuk-Luk-Sau

(Motif) Simbol umur panjang

1)      Dewa Umur Panjang LAU

2)      Burung Bangau

3)      Pohon Pinus

4)      Buah Persik

5)      Pohon bamboo

6)      Rusa

7)      Kura-kura

8)      Delapan dewa (dewa keabadian  or eight immortal)

(1) Chung Li Chuan dengan  simbol kipas, Dewa umur panjang dan memberikan energi yang tidak pernah berhenti(putus)

(2)Chang Kuo-Lao Changdengan  simbol  tabung banbu memberikan keturunan(mencegah mandul)

(3)Dong Pin Lu(Lu Tung Pin) dengan symbol pedang dan termos terbang menyembulkan penyakit

(4)Guo Chiu Tsao(Tsao kuo-chiu) dengan symbol alat music  menganugerahkan berkah bagi mereka yang mencari kekuasaan

(5)Tieh Guai Lie (Li Tieh Kuai) dengan symbol labu botol ,paling berkausa dari delan dewa menganugerahkan kearifan

(6)Hsian Tzu Han(Han  Hsing-tzu)  dengan seruling , memulihkan energy

(7)Tsai Ho Lan (Lan Tsai-ho)dengan Kerajang bunga mengantarkan berkah bagi gadis-gadis

(8)Hsien Ku Ho(Ko Tsien-Ku) dengan symbol lotus, menganugerahkan  keberuntungan dalam keluarga dan pernikahan

9)      Ramuan keabadian Ling zhi

10)   Ratu Barat Hsi-wang Mu

11)   Kaligrafi Umur Panjang Shou

12)   Dewa Bintang Tiga Fuk-Luk-Sau

3.4.4. C

Chinese symbol of double happiness and happy marriage (vector graphics) - stock vector

Motif Symbol Love and marriage

1)                 Mandarin Duck
2) Geese
3) calligraphy double happiness (Double Happiness)
4) Peony Flower Tan Mou


5) butterfly
6) Lute
7) Birds Magpie
8) Paper Lantern
9) God marriages Chieh Lin

Motif Simbol Cinta Kasih dan perkawinan

1)Bebek Mandarin

2)Angsa

3)kaligrafi kebahagian ganda(double Happiness)

4)Bunga Peoni  Mou Tan

5)kupu-kupu

6)Kecapi

7)Burung Magpie

8)Lampion Kertas

9)Dewa pernikahan Chieh Lin

3.4,4. d.

FRUIT AND FLOWER  GOOD FORTUNE  SYMBOL


1) Flowers Fruit Plum facilitate LUCK Good Fortune
2) Chrysanthemum flower (Chrysanthenum) SYMBOL BEAUTY
3) Lotus symbol of perfection and progress indefinitely
4) Orchid Flower epitome of perfection
5) citrus fruit brings many blessings

BUAH DAN BUNGA LAMBANG KEBERUNTUNGAN

1)Bunga Buah Plum MEMUDAHKAN KEBERUNTUNGAN

2)bunga Krisan(Chrysanthenum) LAMBANG KECANTIKAN

3)Bunga Teratai lambing kesempurnaan dan kemajuan tanpa batas

4)Bunga Anggrek lambang kesempurnaan

5)  jeruk berbuah banyak  membawa berkah

3.4,4. e.

MOTIF PROTECTION SYMBOL

Guardian symbols

 Tiger head tattoo silhouette - csp9214049

1) Kuang Kong or Kuan Ti
2) white tiger
3) a pair of dogs or lions chillin
4) God of Doors
5) Four Heavenly Kings North (Mo Li Shou), West) Mo Li Hai), the East (Mo Ling Ching) and the South (Mo Li Hung)
6) digit (number) Lo Shu
7) dragon turtle

Fu (Foo) Lions - Chinese guardian lions


8) Pat Kua Mirror (an antidote to the poison dart)
9) anti Sandalwood Fan negative energy
10) singing bowl

 

 

MOTIF SIMBOL PERLINTUNGAN

1)Kuang Kong  atau Kuan Ti

2)Harimau putih

3) sepasang anjing atau singa chillin

4)Dewa Pintu

5)Empat Raja Langit Utara(Mo Li Shou),Barat)Mo Li Hai),Timur (Mo Ling Ching)dan Selatan(Mo Li Hung)

6) angka(nomor) Lo Shu

7) kura-kura naga

8)Cermin Pat Kua(penangkal panah beracun)

9)Kipas Kayu cendana  anti energy negative

10)Mangkuk bernyanyi

3.4,4. f.

Eight Auspicious Symbols double- wall hanging

EIGHT GOOD FORTUNE LUCKY SYMBOLS
1) mystic knot without ujung
(symbol beginning without end.  Buddhism cycle of birth and rebirth – reincarnation)
2) Skin snails and clams (shell conched) symbol of luck on the way
3) Two Fish symbol of wealth
4) Lotus symbol of purity of intention and mind
5) Canopy mighty symbol perlidunagn
6) Flower vase symbols to increase the happiness and goodness
7) Wheel symbol of true wisdom and knowledge
8) vessel for the ashes of religious symbols

 

 

Beautiful full-color wall hanging depicting the eight auspicious symbols that bring good fortune and luck; eight seperate symbols at the sides and the all-in-one at the center in their traditional combination. This design is printed on heavy-weave cotton attached to a hand-carved wooden dowl fitted with a multi-colored cord for attaching to a wall.

DELAPAN SIMBUL KEBERUNTUNGAN

1)simpul mistis tanpa unjung

(lambang permulaan tanpa akhir. kepErcayan agama budha lingkaran kelahiran dan kelahiran kembali – reinkarnasi)

2)Kulit Siput dan kerang(conched shell) symbol keberuntungan dalam perjalanan

3)Dua Ikan symbol kekayaan

4)Lotus simbol kemurnian niat dan pikiran

5)Kanopi symbol perlidunagn yang perkasa

6)Vas bunga simbol  untuk meningkatkan kebahagiaan dan kebaikan

7)Roda symbol kearifan sejati dan pengetahuan

8) bejana untuk abu jenazah symbol religious

3.4,4. g

MOTIF ELEVEN CHINESE ZODIAC SYMBOLS

Chinese Zodiac Signs


1) Mice(Rat)
2) Buffalo
3) Tiger
4) Rabbit
5) Dragon
6) Snake
7) Horse
8) Goat
8) Monkey
9) Chicken
10) Dogs
11) Pigs

 

The Chinese animal zodiac, or sheng xiao in pinyin (literally translated as “born resembling”), is a rotating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its reputed attributes.

Traditionally these recurring animals were used to date the years, a different animal for each year, with each animal year repeated every 12 years. There are altogether 12 animals, which are, in order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. How is this order determined?

Actually the Chinese animal zodiac has certain similarities with the Western zodiac. Both have rotating cycles divided into 12 parts, and both imply the influence of each sign on a person’s personality. However, the differences are major. The Chinese animal zodiac is divided into years, while the Western zodiac is divided into months, and the animals are not associated with constellations.

Chinese Zodiac Animal Years or Ben Ming Nian

 

Chinese Zodiac years of birth are also called Chinese Zodiac animal years or ben ming nian

Because the Chinese animal zodiac is a rotating cycle of 12 years, every 12 years a certain animal year recurs. For example, if a person was born in the year 1990, which was the year of the horse, then this person’s animal sign is the horse. Every 12 years, when this person is 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72 etc., the year of the horse recurs, which is this person’s year of birth, or ben ming nian (roughly translated as ‘origin of life year’)

According to ancient Chinese superstition, in one’s year of birth, he will offend Tai Sui, the god of age in Chinese mythology, and will have bad luck during that year. The best way to avoid bad luck during this year is by wearing something red given by someone else, such as socks, a ribbon, clothes, underwear, a waistband or a bracelet.

The twelve animal signs each represent different types of personalities. The following are the twelve signs in order. Use the calculator on the left of this page to determine your own sign.

 

http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/

 

 

MOTIF SEBELAS SIMBOL ZODIAK CINA

 

1)Tikus

2)Kerbau

3)Harimau

4)Kelinci

5)Naga

6)Ular

7)Kuda

8)Kambing

8)Monyet

9)Ayam

10)Anjing

11) Babi

Motif symbolic type and meaning

Type dan Arti Motif Simbolik

3.4.5

GOD OF GOOD FORTUNE LUCKY
1) God of Wealth Tai Yeh sen
2) God of Wealth Hokkien Tua Pekkong
3) Three Star Gods Fu-Luk-Sau (God of Longevity)
4) Laughing Buddha (Buddha Wealth  and Happiness)

DEWA KEBERUNTUNGAN

1)Dewa Kekayaan Tai sen Yeh

2)Dewa Kekayaan Hokkien Tua Pekkong

3)Dewa Tiga Bintang Fu-Luk-Sau(Dewa Panjang Umur)

4)Buddha Tertawa(Buddha kekatyaan dan Kebahagiaan

 

The info will put on the Discuss Chapter

 

 

Motif symbolic type and meaning

Type dan Arti Motif Simbolik

3.4.7

Animal and Fruit Symbols in China

Crane, symbol of joy The most prominent animal symbols are: 1) cranes (peace, hope, healing, longevity and good luck); 2) turtles (long life, but a tortoise refers to a cuckolded husband and a turtle egg is the Chinese equivalent of a bastard); 3) carps (good luck, they are admired for their strength and determination to swim upstream, traits that parents want their children to have): 4) lions (good fortune and prosperity, stone lion gates guard temples and even shopping malls); 5) deer (wealth and long life); 6) horse (success); 7) sheep (auspicious beginning of a brand-new year); 8) monkey (success);

Fruit symbols: 1) orange (happiness); 2) many-seeded pomegranate (fertility); 3) apple (peace); 4) pear (prosperity); 5) peaches (long life, good health and sex, both Chinese and Arabs regard the fury cleft on one side of the peach as symbol of the female genitalia). Peach trees mean dreams can come true. Beginning in the 2nd century B.C., Taoist kept peach-wood charms to ward off evil. Sometimes handmade noodles are served on birthdays for long life.

One of the best sign of all is a red bat. Red is a lucky color and a bat is considered a fortunate sign because its name in Chinese is a homonym with the Chinese word for “good luck, “plus bats sleep with their head down and their feet up, which shows how relaxed and worry free they are. Chinese and Vietnamese believe that people can achieve the relaxed, worry-free state of bats by eating red bat meat. Five flying bats symbolize the “Five Blessings”: longevity, wealth. health, virtue and a long life span.

Fish are is also important. According to legend many Chinese dragons begin life as fish. They have magical powers to leap over waterfalls. Carp especially are associated with this legend. The saying, “The carp has leaped through the dragon’s gate” is used to describe success in Chinese society. Fish are always served on New Year’s Eve as a symbol of prosperity and wealth.

Color Symbols in China

Colors: 1) red or orange (happiness and celebration), 2) white (purity, death and mourning); 3) yellow and gold (heaven and the emperor, a reference the mythical first Yellow Emperor, sometimes yellow is a mourning color); 4) green (harmony); 5) grey and black (death and misfortune).

Red, gold and green are associated with good luck. Red is the most auspicious color. It is well represented at weddings and holidays and fits nicely into Communist models. Red signifies luck, happiness, health and prosperity. Brides wear something red on their wedding day and red lanterns are hung on New Year’s Day and weddings. Chinese have traditionally given out “lucky money” on special occasions in red envelopes. Walls are painted red for good luck but writing in red is bad luck. Sometimes red clothing worn by women ias linked with prostitution.

Green can also be a symbol of cuckoldry. Green hats have traditionally been worn by men whose wives have cheated on them. The New York Times described how one American agricultural expert found this out the hard way when he traveled around China giving out bright green hats and found out that whenever he handed them out the men refused to put them on and the women laughed.

Mythical Creatures in China

The a qilin (kylin) is a dragon-like beast with the head of dragon, hooves of an ox, tail of a lion, and antlers of a deer and was said to be able to reveal disloyal subjects. See History

The pulao is a dragon-like creature that makes a bloodcurdling shriek when attacked by a whale

The xiechi (xiezhi) is a horned cat that is believed to have the power to discern right and wrong.

The phoenix is an auspicious symbol associated with the Imperial family. It has traditionally been used to symbolize the Empress.

The Chinese and many other cultures around the world believed that eclipses occur when the sun is eaten by a giant beast, monster or dragon. The Chinese word for eclipse, re she, means “sun-eat.”

Chinese Dragons

 

Dragons symbolize goodness, strength, vigor, excellence and breakthroughs. They bring good luck and control natural forces that produce good harvests. Dragons, the Chinese believe, are just below human beings in the hierarchy of living things, and dinosaurs bones have been presented as proof that they really existed.

Dragons have traditionally been associated with the Imperial family. Emperors were called “Real Dragon and Son of Heaven.” The five claw-dragon was a symbol of the imperial court; the phoenix sometimes symbolized the empress; and a dragon and phoenix together symbolize male and female. Emperors placed dragon symbols on everything from robes to thrones to flags.

The belief in dragons dates back thousands of years and no one is sure where it comes from. In ancient times, dragons were though have horses heads, bat wings, rabbit eyes and scaly, snake-like bodies. They were thought to inhabit ponds and rivers and have the ability to travel between earth and heaven on spiraling waterspouts. In times of drought people made offerings to them in hope they would break out through the mist and clouds and produce rain.

In China, dragons are more like guardian angels than creatures that kidnap damsels in distress and are slain by knights. The Asian dragon has large claws and whiskers. Snakes are sometimes called “little dragons.” Fish are regarded as baby dragons that haven’t yet grown up. Some dragons are said to have the ability to change into Sea Dragon Kings, Hai Long Wang that wander the oceans and protected seafarers. Other dragons such as the Cheien Tang River monster and the seagoing, red-maned Shan were regarded as evil.

There are a number of legends about dragons. According to one, long ago when mist surrounded the earth, dragons were created in great rivers, and sprawling lakes, storm clouds and typhoons. They swam in the seas off the coast of China and moved about so much they stirred up enough sediment to make the island of Taiwan, where they rested, slept and still reside.

    In another, the great hero Fu Xi and his sister Nu Wa descended from semi-human creatures with snake bodies. Over time they developed animal legs, a horse mane, a rat tail, deer hooves, dog claws and fish scales and became dragons.

 

 

 

Chinese Zodiac Dragons

 

Dragons (1940, 1952, 64, 76, 88, 2000) are considered eccentric, extroverted, complex, intelligent, passionate and healthy and have been described as adventurous dreamers with strong leadership qualities. Sometimes they are seen as foolish, indiscreet and demanding. They are most compatible with rats and monkeys, and least compatible with dogs. Dragons make good artists and politicians. Famous dragons include Joan of Arc and Freud.

Kent Ewing wrote in the Asia Times: The dragon is the most revered and auspicious animal in the Chinese zodiac. It has long been the preeminent symbol of imperial power in China; indeed, the first set of stamps issued in the country – during the Qing Dynasty, in 1878 – bore the image of a giant dragon. [Source: Kent Ewing, Asia Times, January 24, 2012]

The thrashing, fire-breathing ferocity of Western dragons may inspire fear and loathing, but in Chinese lore dragons are fierce and frightful because – like the emperors they have represented – they offer protection and security while also possessing mythical powers to ward off evil spirits and disasters.

The dragon is one of 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac, but it outranks all others as the ultimate emblem of the Chinese nation and race. Paradoxically, it represents power and unmitigating authority on the one hand but benevolence and blessings on the other. Dragon years should be filled with happiness, security, abundance and prosperity.

The birthrate in dragon years often leaps because it is the most auspicious in the Chinese almanac. In 2000, the previous Year of the Dragon, birth rates in Hong Kong shot up 5.6 percent, to 54,134, according to official data, and an even bigger spike, spurred by mainland mothers-to-be dodging China’s one-child policy, is anticipated in 2012.

Dragon Year 2012

Kent Ewing wrote in the Asia Times: The Year of the Dragon 2012, which began on January 23, got off to a bad start before it even began. How else to explain the critical reaction within China to a commemorative postage stamp issued by China Post depicting the dragon as the fierce, fanged and clawed mythical creature it is supposed to be. “Too scary!” media critics complained. “Inappropriate,” cried scores of politically correct microbloggers. [Source: Kent Ewing, Asia Times, January 24, 2012]

Now, as the fireworks explode and the celebrations commence, the dragon debate rages on: Is this the menacing image a rising China wants to present to the rest of the world? To which this self-anointed feng-shui commentator responds: Absolutely – unless this is to be the year that China becomes known as a nation of 1.3 billion wimps. Who would you rather have guarding the commonweal of your nation – a Chinese dragon or Mickey Mouse?

Feng-shui masters said that better-than-expected economic news was due the influence of the advancing dragon chasing the rabbit to the back of the zodiacal queue. As the euro zone heads toward the financial abyss and the US economy continues to limp along, the fierce protection offered by the dragon should provide China with a proverbial soft landing in the coming year. At least, that is what Chinese leaders hope and pray for. According to their sobering (and very un-geomantic) calculations, growth of under 8 percent could wreak enough economic havoc to provoke social unrest – unleashing the darker side of the Chinese dragon’s ferocity. No one wants that, and most fortune-tellers assert that this year’s dragon possesses enough strength to pull China through the economic trough that is expected in 2012.

But the ancient art of feng shui goes well beyond simply taking note of which of the 12 animals of the zodiac occupies center stage in any given year. There are also the five basic elements to contend with – metal, wood, water, fire and earth. This year (2012) is dominated by two elements – water and earth. Since these elements are eternally locked in a destructive relationship, the Year of the Dragon will not be without conflict and natural disasters. Expect the politics of the Middle East and North Africa to continue to roil while the earth shakes and the seas bulge and surge. Prepare yourself for a wild ride, although also remember that in the end the dragon is there for assurance and protection.

The total absence of the fire element this year spells bad news for stock markets and the world of finance. The mediating influence of earth should prevent disaster, but count on a wet year for the world economy. Be careful and conservative in investments – or get soaked.

In preparation for the onslaught of Dragon year babies, the Hong Kong government has raised obstetric fees at public hospitals for women from the mainland and also capped the number of deliveries by mothers who are not residents of Hong Kong at 3,400 in public hospitals and 31,000 in private hospitals. These caps, however, have prompted some desperate mainland moms to turn up at the emergency wards of the city’s hospitals to have their babies. This, in turn, has led immigration officials to begin implementing checks on mainland women at the border and to turn back any visibly pregnant women who cannot prove that they have a booking at a Hong Kong hospital – an awkward and imprecise art at best.

The irony in all this is that Hong Kong’s fertility rate is among the lowest in the world and its rapidly aging population poses a threat to the city’s future development. In other words, Hong Kong needs more babies, lots of them.

Dragons and Dinosaurs

Many Chinese believe that dinosaur bones come from dragons not dinosaurs. The consumption of pulverized “dragon” bones is believed to make a man strong and bring him good luck and are used as a traditional Chinese medicine for stomach ailments. Many good bones have been pulverized into medicines. Scientists are trying to convince farmers to turn in their bones to palaeontologists not Chinese medicine traders.

Lurking Dragon Hill in Guizhou is so named because of the high number of “dragon bones” found there. Peking University paleontologist Ceb Zhuxian told National Geographic, “It was here that local people used to find these small dragons. They didn’t known they were fossils, but they liked them because the dragon is a sign of good luck.” Most of the fossils found belong to 12- to 14-inch long marine creatures called Keichousarus hui, that look like miniature Lochness monsters.

Image Sources: Dragon. All Posters com http://www.allposters.com/?lang=1 Search Chinese Art ; others, Kent State University

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

 

Chinese Lucky Number

  

LUCKY NUMBERS IN CHINA


a lucky bat Three, six, eight and nine are lucky numbers for Chinese. Groups of these numbers are even luckier. Six is valued because it has traditionally been associated with smoothness, stability and luck. Peoples pay thousands extra for cell phones and license plate numbers with lots of sixes, threes and nines. A Beijing man paid $215,000 for the lucky cell phone number 133-3333-3333. Phone calls to the number are not answered,

Many auspicious numbers are homonyms of Chinese characters associated with good fortune, prosperity and longevity. Many inauspicious ones are homonyms of Chinese characters for death or bad luck.

Four is considered an unlucky number because the words for “death” and “four” have similar pronunciations. Many hospitals and other buildings used by Chinese don’t have a forth floor, the same way some Western buildings don’t have a 13th floor. Also, things like dishes and utensils, which are sold in sets of four in the United States, are sold in sets of five in China. In the Wenzhou dialect 20 (ershi) is an unlucky number because it sounds a lot like starving to death (esi).

The number seven can be regarded as both lucky and unlucky. It is sometimes regarded as unlucky and associated with ghosts because the Chinese word for seven rhythms with the Chinese word for “certain death.” It is often regarded as lucky because the word for “seven” (qi or chi) is the same the word for “positive energy” and “life force.” In northern China, you never see the price 250 yuan. That is because to say “250″: is the same as calling a person crazy.

Good Websites and Sources: Lucky Numbers Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; New York Times article nytimes.com ; China View article xinhuanet.com ; News in Science abc.net.au ; Lucky Eight afgen.com ; Symbols Chinese Symbols. Com chinese-symbols.com ; Chinatown Connection chinatownconnection.com ; What’s Your Sign whats-your-sign.com ; Dragons chinapage.org

Links in this Website: FOLK RELIGION IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; MYSTICISM AND SUPERSTITION IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; CHINESE LUNAR CALENDAR AND ZODIAC Factsanddetails.com/China ; FENG SHUI AND QI QONG Factsanddetails.com/China ; RELIGION, FOLK BELIEFS AND DEATH ( Main Page, Click Religion) Factsanddetails.com/China

Lucky Number Nine

The number nine is considered to be the luckiest number because all odd numbers are considered heavenly and nine is the highest single digit odd number; and the Chinese word for nine (jui) sounds like the Chinese word for “long” as in longevity or long life. Nine also symbolizes the nine layers of heaven and is associated with yang, male energy. Multiples of nine such as 18, 27, 81 (9 x 9) and 243 (9 x9 x 9) are regarded as auspicious. The number three is also considered lucky because it divided into nine three times. Five is important because it is halfway between 1 and 9. Imperials dragons have five claws; others have three.

The ninth day of the nine months month is regarded as an especially good time to get married. Some even chose to do it at 9:09am. On September 9, 2010, 163 couples were married in a mass wedding in Taipei that was held on the ninth day of the ninth month of the 99th year since the beginning of Republic of China. In the ceremony the couples were pronounced man and wife at 9:09am. In 1994, a Hong Kong businessman paid $1.7 million for an automobile license plate with “9”, a number that was particularly lucky that year because the Chinese word for “nine” sounds like the Chinese word for “dog,” and 1994 was the year of the dog.

September 9, 1999 (9-9-99), or Infinity day, was regarded with some trepidation by Chinese. Although nine is regarded as lucky the ninth of September is regarded as the time when ghosts return to earth from the other world.

The Temple of Heaven in Beijing is a good illustration of how Chinese numerology works in conjunction with the number nine. It has three stories, representing from top to bottom: the heavens, earth and humankind. The top level has nine rings, each composed of nine stones, for a total of 81 stones. The middle level has 10 through 18 rings, each with nine stones. The bottom level has 19 to 27 rings, each with nine stones, with the final and largest ring having 243 stones. The stairs and balustrades are also organized in multiples of nine.

Eight Immortals and Five Talks

The number eight is also considered auspicious and numbers like “888″ and “888,888” are even more so because they have more than one eight in them. In China, there are Eight Taoist Symbols, Eight Buddhist Treasures, and Eight Immortals. Hosting the Olympics in 2008 is regarded as auspicious as well as an honor. The time of 8:08pm was selected as the starting time for the Opening Ceremonies which begin on August 8th (August is teh 8th month).

Eight is considered lucky because the Chinese word for “eight” (“ba“) sounds like “fa” the Cantonese word for “prosperity,” “making money” and “good fortune,” and the number itself has a smooth shape and looks like the symbol of infinity (associated with immortality and longevity). The number 38 is sometimes called “triple prosperity” in Chinese because it has a “3″ and an “8″ in it. Dates with eights are viewed as especially auspicious for weddings because eights look like knots—representing a successful union.

The Chinese like to group things in numbers. Tourist visit the “Eight Most Beautiful Places” and the “Three Most Beautiful Mountains.” During the Cultural Revolution Mao exhorted the Red Guard to destroy the “Eight Antis” and knock down the “Four Olds.” After Mao, Deng encouraged the Chinese to abide by the “Five Talks” (politeness, civil behavior, morality, attention to social relation and practice of good hygiene) and practice the “Four Beauties” (beautiful language, beautiful behavior, beautiful heart and beautiful environment).

AFP reported in November 2011, Chinese couples flocked to registry offices to marry on Friday in the belief that the ’11/11/11′ date is the most auspicious in a century.Nov 11 has been celebrated as an unofficial ‘singles’ day’ in China since the 1990s – as the date is composed of the number one – and it is seen as a good day to marry and leave the single life behind. But this year is viewed as particularly special because the year also ends in the number 11. More than 200 couples packed into a marriage registration office in downtown Shanghai on Friday morning, some having queued for hours before its doors opened to ensure they were among the first to marry. [Source: AFP, November 12, 2011]

The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( Continiu )

THE ART MOTIF OF CHINA IMPERIAL CERAMIC FOUND IN INDONESIA

PART THREE

PART III. STUDIES RESULTS

 

By

Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

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Special For Senior Reseacher And Collectors

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THIS THE SAMPLE OF Dr Iwan Limited E-Book In CD-Rom with unedited non complete info illustration, the complete CD-Rom exist but only for premium member please subscribe via comment with your email address and private information same as  your ID-Card

 

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Motif symbolic type and meaning

Type dan Arti Motif Simbolik

3.4.8

The Evolution Of Chinese Ceramic

 

Abstract

 
Most often when thinking about Asian ceramics, fine porcelain commonly known in the West as “china” comes to mind.  Where did porcelain come from?  How did the Chinese manage to perfect its manufacturing so many hundreds of years before the West?  These questions can be answered by realizing that porcelain is only one of many types of ceramics that the Chinese developed throughout their history.  In fact, porcelain came quite late in China’s history, but its effect on the West is what makes it special.  Ceramics in China can be traced back to the earliest known culture, the Yangshao.  Every culture or dynasty that followed the Yangshao had its own unique earthenware or stoneware that helped define that particular time period.  This paper will examine the evolution of Chinese ceramics, in both their components and glazes, beginning with the Yangshao culture thru the Qing dynasty in order to better understand how the Chinese became so proficient in making the finest ceramics in the world. 
 

Historical Background

The history of Chinese ceramics truly begins with the first known Chinese civilization, and the art form rapidly flourished for several reasons.  The quickness with which the Chinese discovered the many types of ceramics and glazes is due in part to the vastly rich clay soil that had the perfect combination of loess, kaolin, and albite to create both earthenwares and stonewares very easily.  Another factor in the creative force behind the development of ceramics in China was the knowledge gained from working in bronze.  Oftentimes clay molds were made for bronze vessels, and the artisans learned to manipulate both mediums at the same time.
 

Research Report

 
Chinese ceramics began with the people of the Yangshao culture in about the year 5000 B.C. near the Wei River.  Two major types of pottery were made at this time.  The first was gray everyday earthenware that often was minimally decorated with “cord, mat, or basket impressions” (Blunden 53).  The second type of pottery is more intricate as well as beautiful.  These earthenware pots have a “lightly burnished surface decorated with painted designs in black, red, maroon, and brown” (53).  The decorations are generally simple geometric patterns such as swirls, but they can be more ornate and include stylized fish, birds, and human faces (Gernet 39).  As the culture spread westward, the pottery “from the Kansu sites…displays more elaborate designs” (39).  This type of highly decorated pottery seems to have been used primarily for funerary practices. From a more mechanical and less aesthetic viewpoint, the Yangshao potters began the long tradition of combining function, form, and painting into their ceramics.  The Yangshao had a small repertoire of shapes that included bowls and jars.  The usual baking temperature was 1000-1500°C (39). Both the coarser gray ware and the highly burnished pottery were hand built.  The gray ware was built “with coils of clay, and smoothed over to conceal the joins” (Blunden 53).  The burnished pottery was built up in a similar fashion but was of a higher quality of workmanship.  Much of the decoration on the burnished pottery was painted on with slips, which are solutions of metals.  The Yangshao used “colours deriving from iron and manganese producing black, dark brown, and maroon.  A later addition was the white slip which heightened the decoration in a striking manner” (Hook, 387).  From these discoveries, decoration blossomed, and even in this early time of Chinese culture embellishment upon the pottery was “highly stylized, yet it exhibits the vitality and rhythm which is to characterize all Chinese art” (Morton 12).

Types of pottery are the central division among Chinese Neolithic cultures.  The Yangshao, as described above, had two main types, with the burnished, highly decorated pottery being the hallmark style.  Following the Yangshao is the Longshan culture, beginning in approximately 4500 B.C. and overlapping with the Yangshao for 1500 years.  The Longshan were generally farther east compared to the Yangshao, but some excavation sites have the Longshan directly succeeding the Yangshao.  Like their predecessors, the Longshan had two types of pottery, but only one is studied with great care.  The Longshan share the more functional gray wares with their predecessors.  The key difference between the cultures is the Longshan blackware.  There are some immediate differences from the highly decorated Yangshao pieces.  First, the Longshan wares are significantly thinner due to the fact that the vessels were thrown on a potter’s wheel rather than built by hand.  This may have been a consequence of being farther east and having more contact with the Koreans.  Second, Longshan pottery is has no decoration.  These blackwares were made by firing the iron poor clays initially and then exposing them to smoke.  The smoke could be “penetrated deep into the hot porous ceramics, turning them a fine black colour- a process known as carbonizing.  If the ceramics had been burnished before firing the result was a deep and glossy black” (Wood 14).  Another major difference in the Longshan pottery is its form, which is “angular in outline and extremely elegant…Some shapes are already close to those vessels of the Bronze Age”(Gernet 39).  Although the Longshan culture ends around 2500 B.C., there are no new defining styles of pottery until the Shang dynasty of 1766 B.C.

The Shang dynasty is considered a part of the Chinese Bronze Age and therefore ceramics during this time period are generally not spectacular.  Nigel Wood, an expert of Chinese ceramics, states, “Ceramics from China’s early Bronze Age are generally considered inferior, both in design and finish, to the Neolithic ceramics” (14).  Wood suggests that the quality decreased because of the increased use of bronze vessels in rituals and mortuary practices.  Instead of showcasing a particular style of pottery, the coarse gray ware with cord markings continued to dominate, and much of the ceramic wares found from the Shang are molds for bronzes.

Very much like the Shang dynasty, the Zhou dynasty (1027-221 B.C.) did not put great emphasis on their ceramics.  Once again the simple, coarse gray wares were the main type of pottery produced.  The Zhou dynasty did craft some unique wares including glazed stoneware that was decorated by both painting and dipping.  The wares of the Eastern Zhou (771-221 B.C.) tend to follow the fads of the bronzes because they were an inexpensive alternative to the bronze vessels used in rituals.  These “bargain” funeral wares of the Warring States period were often made from “fine siliceous stoneware clays with yellowish, greeny-gray, or dark brown glazes” (Wood 20).  The end of the Zhou dynasty marked an important change in China’s history because the dynasty to follow was the first to unite all of China, so technically the first truly “Chinese” ceramics were produced during the Qin.

The Qin dynasty was extremely short, only fifteen years, lasting between 221 and 206B.C.  Obviously this short amount of time was not enough to create a unique style of ceramics or glaze, but the Qin dynasty is noteworthy because of the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China.  Qin Shi Huangdi’s tomb is outfitted with an entire division of infantry and cavalry that consists of over “7,000 life-size earthenware soldiers equipped with real weapons, real chariots, and pottery horses” (Huang 37).  The tomb is an awesome archeological find due not only to its size, but also its accuracy.  Each soldier has a unique facial expression, hairdo, armor, and stance.  Qin Shi Huangdi’s tomb represents a breakthrough in production of earthenwares and showcases the creative capability of thousands of anonymous artisans. 

The Han dynasty (202 B.C.-220 A.D.), which follows the Qin, exhibits an intriguing dichotomy because great unity and peace was brought to China with the establishment of the new dynasty, yet the Han’s most important contribution to the history of China’s ceramics is the fact that this time period brings about the first noticeable difference in Northern and Southern wares.   According to The Cambridge Encyclopedia of China, “In the north lead-glazed ceramics tended to be simply cheap substitutes for bronzes and intended for tombs, but in the south ceramics were developed more in their own right”(Hook 404).  The common wares were often red or gray with high-fired glazes.  Wares used for funerary purposes often used glazes that were “reminiscent of bronze in its various states of patination and early Han lead-glazed vessels often followed the shapes of Han bronzes” (Wood 191).  Han discoveries were the early prototypes for glazes used during the Tang and Song dynasties in sancai wares.

The Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D.) is arguably the most significant time period in the evolution of Chinese ceramics because porcelain, the epitome of Chinese stoneware, was discovered during this dynasty.  Even more astounding, porcelain is not the only development that occurred during the Tang dynasty.  Sancai, also known as “three-colour” wares, were also developed using new high-lead glazes that produced a plethora of color combinations (Hook 409).  Another addition was marbled pottery, which used different colored clays to create a swirled look that was painted with a transparent glaze (409).  The  final development was expanding the repertoire of shapes of vessels, many of which were influenced by contacts with the West.  During this time, vases and bowls became quite novel and popular.  The interest in different clay colors used in the marbled pottery helped bring about the discovery of porcelain, which “evolved out of the conscious attempts to produce a pure white clay body” (Tharp). 
 

There are three major types of Tang porcelain designated by the region in which the producing kilns were located.  The first type is early whiteware created in Gongxian in the northern part of the Henan province.  Gongxian porcelains had good translucency, and their glazes had good resistance to dullness and crazing (Wood 97).  The porcelains made in Gongxian included plain whitewares as well as blue and whites, which are porcelains with a cobalt blue underglaze.  Xing porcelain is the most famous Tang porcelain because it was the whitest produced in the north.  A combination of extremely pure clay and high firing temperatures, as high as white-blue heat or 1350°C, was needed to produce such white porcelain (99).  The final type of Tang porcelain is known as Ding ware.  During the Tang, Ding ware was considered inferior to the Xing because of its creamy color.  This opinion of Ding inferiority changed during the Song dynasty.

The artisans of the Song dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) perfected what those in the Tang had begun.  The hallmark of Song ceramics is monochrome porcelain with exquisite form.  Ding ware, formally considered second rate, developed into “plain and beautiful cream-coloured, oxidised porcelain with austere and refined forms that showed a superb balance of inner and outer space” (100-1).  Decorations changed significantly from the vibrant colors used in the Tang to the more subdued monochrome glazes and incised designs.  The evolution of Ding ware came to a point when it was declared the “official palace ware of the Northern Song emperors” (Hook 411).  Unfortunately, the notoriety of Ding ware did not last very long for the royal family and was replaced with Ru ware, “a fine, undecorated ware with a pale grey-green glaze usually with a faint crackle” (411).  The Song had managed to perfect the creation of vessels to the point where “most of the pots are fully glazed (including foot and base), because in the kiln the vessels were placed on tiny supports called spurs that left only minute “sesame-seed” marks on the glaze” (“Northern Song”).  It is said that the Song dynasty was the time of perfection for Chinese ceramics, and that nothing could ever compare with it again.

The Yuan dynasty (1260-1368 A.D.) unfortunately did not keep up to the standards set by the Song.  Although the forms of Yuan and Song pottery are similar, the excellence in balanced form of the Song was not to be met by the Yuan.  Wares became “heavier and cruder, with new shapes such as large dishes and bowls” (Hook 413).  Even though Yuan wares are disappointing in aspects such as style and form, decoration is the Yuan’s saving grace.  Images became much more dramatic, naturalistic, and dynamic.  Glazes became less pure, but underglazing with qingbai, a “thicker and more opaque glaze,” brought about the unquestionably Chinese blue and white porcelain (413). 

Although the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) is best known for its blue and white porcelain, many types of unique ceramics were developed at this time.  The kilns that produced the best quality and quantity of wares were concentrated at Jingdezhen in the Jiangzi province because of the deposits of kaolin and petuntse, the most important elements for porcelain making (416).  The kaolin is the key to making very thin vessels because when heated to high temperatures, upwards of 1,300-1,500°C, the kaolin becomes extremely hard and strong without too much clay so the vessels could be made to be almost translucent (Morton 129).  These kilns produced blue and white porcelain along with “red monochromes, and ‘bodiless’  imperial wares…[with] anhua, incised in the body under the glaze, visible only when held up to the light” (Hook 416).  Another type of ware produced at the imperial kilns was doucai, porcelain vessels enameled with many colors.  The effect of doucai is a “true polychrome effect, combining red, yellow, green, brown, and aubergine overglaze enamels with underglaze blue” (Wood 233).  The popularity of Ming wares could not be stopped, and large-scale production continued into the Qing dynasty.

The hallmark of the wares of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911 A.D.) was production over aesthetics or form.  Eventually the imperial kilns exchanged the blue and white wares for the polychrome enamelwares.  Two main types of enamelwares were  produced.  The first was famille noire.  These wares have a characteristic blackish-green background.  The second type is known as famille rose, which usually have a white background and the decorations consist of flowers or birds in yellows and pinks.  Although the Qing developed extraordinary kilns and production systems, the secret of porcelain making reached Europe and export immediately decreased.  The need to produce large amounts of porcelain was essentially eliminated.

This paper represents over 7,000 years of ceramic history from the Yangshao’s simple burnished vessels to the Qing’s technical perfection of production of porcelain.  Although each dynasty certainly has its own unique features, every style is undeniably Chinese.  Aesthetics and function meld together seamlessly in every object to allow for pleasing yet useful objects that continue to astound people around the world. 
 

Historical Significance

The importance of the art of ceramics cannot be overlooked because it is such an essential part of people’s lives.  Each dynasty had everyday wares that the commoners and elite alike could use, but there was always a special type vessel that served a ritual or social function.  These wares often served a primary role in mortuary practices, or in the case of Qin Shi Huangdi, to protect the spirit as it traveled to the other world.  Chinese ceramics always seem to pull together the aesthetic and functional parts of life and mould them into a perfectly harmonious union that is unequal elsewhere.    In the long term, ceramics cannot only help define the influence the West had China, but vice versa.  Depending on the size, shape, and decoration on a particular piece, archaeologists can determine how Sinicized or Westernized an era or dynasty was.  In the West, reign marks can give a definite age to many of the pieces that traveled to Europe during the Ming and Qing dynasties.  The Ming dynasty really began the massive export of ceramics.  At the end of the Ming, “at least three million porcelains were being shipped to Europe each year” (Selvage).  Ceramics were just one more type of wares the West wanted from China when it demanded that ports be opened. 

Motif symbolic type and meaning

Type dan Arti Motif Simbolik

3.4.9

Overview of Folk Kiln (Minyao) Ming Blue and White

 

Early Ming Period [Hungwu (洪武) to Tianshun (天顺), 1368 To 1464 ]

During the  early Ming period, the court imposed a relatively high degree of  control on  political and cultural development.   For eg. during the reign of Hongwu, a decree was issued in the year 1371 which forbid certain subjects such as previous emperors, queens, sages or saints, dragon, phoenix, lion and chilin on porcelains.  Another instance was the  decree  issued in the year 1447 by emperor Zhengtong (正统) which prohibited the production of color glaze such as yellow, purple, red or blue glazes including those with underglazed blue design.

Such restrictions significantly impacted the type of decorations found on folk kiln blue and white wares.  Only a relatively limited range of motifs were available.  Usually the motifs are highly stylised and simplified and executed in calligraphic style.  It was dictated by economic considerations as such mode of production facilitated quick execution  and increased production volume. The calligraphic  lines of the motif  is spontaneous and highly rhythmic.  This carefree style without depiction of details has a charm and character of its own.

Recent scientific tests seem to indicate that Yuan blue and white used solely imported cobalt.  During the reign of Hongwu, he issued decrees prohibiting foreign contact and trade.  Hence, the source of imported cobalt would have been cut off.  It is likely that remaining imported cobalt during the period were used for imperial blue and white.  Hence, very few, if any, folk kiln blue and white had been produced during Hongwu or even Yongle (永乐) period.  This is not far-fetched.   For those Hongwu imperial blue and white, we can still see stylistic continuity from the Yuan period.  However, for motifs on folk kiln blue and white attributed to Hongwu, they generally lack stylistic similarity to those from Yuan period.  This logically should not be the case in the evolvement of artistic styles.  Another issue which need to be explored is when the potters started using local cobalt if only imported cobalt was used during the Yuan period.  For more discussion, please read : Early Ming Folk kiln blue and white revisit.

During the early Ming period, the typical motifs depicted included:  interlacing floral scroll with sanksrit character , rolling clouds, 3 friends of  winter (represented by pine, plum and bamboo), ornamental balls with silk knots, characters fu ()  (fortune) and shou (寿) (longevity), rolling clouds with human figures which resemble dreamland and hermit in countryside setting.   The influence of Tibetan Buddhism is shown in elements such as sanskrit/tibetan characters and Buddhist 8 precious objects (conch shell, wheel, umbrella, canopy, lotus, vase, fish, endless knot). 

 

Interlacing floral scrolls with Sanskrit characters. It shows  typical calligraphic style of execution of the motif

 

Cloud motif

rolling clouds with human figures

Majority of the wares produced during the Early Ming period were functional in nature, such as bowl, plate, covered jar and incense burner.  Vases only constituted a small quantity of the production.

In 1964, Wang Zhimin (王志敏) of Nanjing museum pioneered a project on identification of early Ming blue and white.   He collected tens of thousands ceramic shards from the Yudai  river where the old Nanjing palace was located.  Based on stylistic comparison, he was able to form some meaningful deductions on characteristics associated with each dynastic Ming period.  With the guidelines formulated, one could more confidently separate  Xuande (宣德) or earlier  blue and white from those dated to the Interregnum period [Zhengtong (正统), Jingtai (景泰) and Tianshun (天顺), with a duration of 29 years spanning 1436 to 1465].

To a  significant extent, his findings was a big step forward for the study of Ming folk kilns blue and white.  But there is still the difficulty in determining the end-date for a particular style of motif.   It is not unjustifiable to assume  a transitional phase during which an old style and an emerging new style co-existed.  The old style will ultimately be abandoned but there is still difficulty in determining the end point of a particular style. 

Two examples illustrate this problem.  The calligraphic chilin and lion plates are known to have been produced during the Xuande/Interregnum period.  A small quantity of Chinese ceramics including some dishes with the chilin motif, were salvaged from the Pandanan shipwreck in Philippines and dated to the Interregnum period.  However, the Lena shoal junk  (found near the Lena Shoal of Busuanga Island in the Philippines in 1997) with its well preserved cargo of typical Hongzhi blue and white wares, sprung up a few surprises.  There were a number of chilin plates and some bowls with abstract cloud and floral motifs executed in calligraphic style usually attributed to Early Ming  Interregnum period.  

The second case concerned a Guangdong Dongguan  family graveyard of Zhong Songxue.   The earliest burial was in second year of Zhengde .  Five jars with typical Hongzhi style scholar in garden setting were found.  in the adjacent  burial site of one of Zhong Songxue’s son, two big late Zhengde/early Jiajing jars, one with floral and the other with fish motif were recovered.  Also found together was a lion plate and a bowl executed in interregnum period calligraphic style.  Based on the Dongguan chronicle,  one of Zhong Songxue’s sons died in the 7th year of Jiajing. 

 

Similar Qilin plate found in Lena and Pandanan wreck.  This one is most probably dated to Hongzhi period.  Those from the Interregnum period are better drawn especially the cloud’ Plate with lion motif are mostly from the Chenghua/Hongzhi period.  Some were found after Hongzhi period but the drawing appears more sketchy and poorly drawn.

During the interregnum period  there were numerous laws restricting or banning production of blue and white wares.   Coupled with a declining tribute system of trade and ban on illegal private trade, the amount of porcelain that reached the overseas market would have been small.  This appears to have been the case based on shipwrecks findings.  So far, shipwrecks, such as  Pandanan and the Royal Nanhai wreck in South China sea, which are dated to Interregnum period carried only small quantity of Chinese ceramics.  However by the Hongzhi period, a thriving illegal private trade has developed.  The Hongzhi period Lina cargo is clear reflection of the situation.  It carried a  relatively large quantity of good quality blue and white wares.   Another contributing factor which prompted this development was the situation during the Hongzhi period.  During the reign of Chenghua, the imperial kiln produced large quantity of porcelains as can be seen from the excavations in Jingdezhen.  When Hongzhi took over, he recognised that it was a big drain on the state finance.  He ordered imperial porcealin production to be drastically reduced.  As a result, the redundant potters would have to find other means to support their livelihood.  They turned to production of wares to meet oversea demand.

A significant volume of blue and white excavated in Southeast Asia were usually attributed to the  interregnum period.  The political situation in China highlighted above suggested that the dating could be wrong. They may have been produced later,  most probably during the Chenghua to Hongzhi period instead.  

Almost all the known folk kiln sites in Jingdezhen region were badly disturbed and destroyed.  Hence, scientific excavation is almost impossible.   Currently, a good source for dating is artifacts recovered from datable tombs.  Regrettably, the information is limited and not widely circulated.  Such excavation information together with those from shipwrecks will enable more detailed studies and accurate dating.  We will also be able to ascertain how a particular motif evolved over time and the duration which a particular style of the motif persisted.  Hopefully, we can also better dentify the minor stylistic changes associated with a style as they evolved over time. It is a worthwhile project but it would require patience and co-operation from different sources to build up a comprehensive database.  

 

Mid Ming Period (Chenghua (成化) to Zhengde (正德), 1465 to 1521)

By the Mid Ming period ,  production and demands for porcelain increased considerably due to demand from illegal private trade.   Officially the tribute system of foreign trade implemented since Hongwu period only came to an end in 1567 (Jiajing) with the opening of Yuegang (月港)  in Fujian for legal foreign trade.   The tribute system of trade reached its peak during the Yongle/Xuande period epitomised by  Admiral Zhenghe’s trips on large fleet of treasure ships which reached as far as East coast of Africa.  Subsequently, the tribute system could not be implemented effectively after the decline of the power of the empire.  Some contributing factors included internal problem such as the capture of Zhengtong (正统) emperor by the Mongols and official corruption.   To meet overseas demand, illegal foreign trade became increasingly more prevalent.  By the Chenghua period, the 3 coastal province of  Zhejiang, Fujian and Guongdong had flourishing private trade.    Such illicit arrangement involved powerful rich families and facilitated by tacit assistance of  corrupt provincial officials.

The pigmented-wash method of decoration which was experimented most probably during the Tianshun period gained greater popularity and used on bulk of the blue and white wares from late Chenghua onward.  The wash was applied over some part of the drawn motif such as the flower or dress of human figure. Generally you can distinguish two tonal blue in the wash area   Most actually utilised a combination of calligraphic and pigmented-wash method to execute the motif.   Those that utilised fully calligraphic style or with motif completely cover with pigment wash constitute a smaller portion of the production. 

 

The above ink grinder is dated to 9th year of Hongzhi period.  The flower is completed using the pigmented wash while the leaves still used the typical calligraphic strokes 
Hongzhi warmer bowl

Example showing  motif completely covered with wash of blue

The Lena cargo is a very interesting and important find.   The varied styles of motif indicated that Hongzhi is a watershed period.  The majority can be positively identified with the Chenghua/Hongzhi period.  There is a small number with typical interregnum calligraphic style.  It indicated the dying interest in the style. Lastly, there was a small number such as the floral scrolls with Buddhist precious objects and lingzhi fungus scrolls, which shows emerging elements  typical of Jiajing period.

During the Zhengde period, some blue and white porcelains with Islamic influence such as Arabic scripts were produced.  Some speculated that it was because emperor Zhengde was converted to Muslim faith.  However, the more probable  reason could be the influence of the powerful eunuchs , many of whom were Muslims. 

Ming Hongzhi period also witnessed a change in the design composition.   Many bowls and plates have  more densely and fully decorated inner wall.  This is a rather unique phase as those before and after this period generally  have plain or more sparsely decorated inner wall.  The exception was the kraak style motifs of Wanli/Chongzhen period.

 

More densely decorated interior of bowls and plates

Mark  such as “Fu ()” , “Da Ming Nianzao (大明年造)”, “Tian ()” and “Tai ping (太平)” , on the outer base also appeared in wares during Chenghua/Hongzhi  period.  

Bowl with fu mark on outer base

 

Late Ming Period (Jiajing (嘉靖) to Chongzhen (崇祯), 1522 to 1644)

Jiajing period heralded the implementation of the Guan da min shao (官搭民烧) system.  Under this system, imperial porcelain production was contracted out to private kiln operators.  The high quality requirement forced the potters to improve quality of their products.  The penalty for failure to meet quantity and quality requirements was stiff.  Besides paying a fine, they had to buy in pieces from the officials to meet any shortfall in government order.  

Emperor Jiajing who succeeded Zhengde was a devout Taoist.   Taoist symbolism became a common decorative element during the late Ming period.   Taoist motifs such as the Eight immortals, eight Taoist Emblems, the Pakua (eight diagrams) , the cranes, auspicious character shou (often formed by twisted peach tree as above picture) were frequently used.

 

 

Jiajing bowl with cranes and deers motif.  They are all Taoist symbols of longevity

 .  

Jiajing jar with floral scrolls and Taoist 8 diagrams

A unique feature for Jiajing/wanli period is the use of Hui qing (回青) , a form of imported cobalt which is purplish in colour tone.  Hui qing  needs to be mixed with local cobalt as too high an amount of it will conceal the details of the lines under the wash.  A well proportioned mixture of hui-qing and local cobalt will create a brilliant clear purplish motif.  From Jiajing onward, the outline and wash method became the mainstream style of decoration.  The outline is thin and of even thickness, which the Chinese calls iron thread.  The good quality pieces also have clear even one tone wash.  
 
 

A typical late Jiajing/early wanli bowl with outline and wash floral  motif.  It also has the purplish tone of Hui qing. Tianqi bowl which shown the initial phase of shading of the rock which became a typical feature on Qing Kangxi pieces.
Wanli bowl with infants motif Jiajing/Wanli jar with bird/floral motif

Many of the Jiajing/Tianqi bowls/plates also carried auspicious phrase consisting of 4 chinese characters on the outer base.  Some common phrases include Wan Fu you tong (万福攸同), Fu gui Jiaqing (富贵佳器), Chang Ming Fugui (长命富贵)and etc.

The Jiajing period also saw the emergence of blue and white wares manufactured in Zhangzhou region.  This category of wares was termed swatow wares in the past.  It is usually associated with wares with grits adhering to the footring and outer base.  For a more detailed discussion, please view the article: A general survey of Zhangzhou (swatow) wares.

The Portuguese  maritime explorers made their way to China around 1514.   The high quality of the Chinese porcelains generated great interest and demand from the European elite class and the wares became a form of status symbol.  Some of the earliest typical blue and white wares exported to Europe are similar to those found in the  Fort Sebastian Wreck.  A unique form of wares termed the kraak wares made to meet the specifications  of European clients were produced from the Wanli period.   Kraak derived from “carrack”, a type of  Portuguese ship captured by the Dutch in 1603 inside which carried a large quantities of these wares.   The typical Kraak ware has a central theme on the inside of a bowl or plate and  paneled motifs on the interior walls.  The walls of the bowls and plates are generally thin.   One common defect of the kraak wares is flaking of the glaze along the rim.  The Japanese called it mushikui, ie. “insect nibbles”.  Some examples of Wanli kraak wares could be seen in the San Diego Shipwreck.

 

Jiajing/Wanli Kraak style plate

Wanli Kraak ware

During the Chongzhen period, a type of porcelain, commonly called transitional wares were produced.  One common feature of these wares is the thick construction.  The quality of the porcelain is comparable to those found on imperial wares.  The glaze is excellent and the standard of blue and white painting is superb.  The subjects covered  are varied: including flowers, landscapes and scenes taken from Chinese plays or historical episodes.  Many of the pieces also incorporated supplementary foreign decoration, such as the tulip.   Also commonly found is a band of incised pattern near the rim of the ware such as incense burners, brush pots, and sleeve vases.  The fish scale-like representation of grasses, the curling shaded clouds and mountains/stones with fine shadings were common features during Chongzhen period.

Chongzhen brush pot with fish scale grasses and fine shading of the rocks

Chongzhen vase with tulip motif on the neck

 

compare with The reasecher Dr Iwan Collections found in Indonesia from jing De Zhen Kiln export production

Pameran Keramik Langka Kerajaan Tiongkok  Produksi  Jing De Zhen

 

Pameran Keramik Langka Kerajaan Tiongkok  Produksi  Jing De Zhen

Frame Pertama : 

Dr Iwan’s  Jing De Zhen private Collections Found In Indonesia

I.Yuan Dinasty

1.The Red Inglaze

2.The Qinh-pai glaze

3. The White Sufu

4.The Tobi Seji

5a The Mohamedan Blue

5 Celadon

II.Ming Dinasty.

1.Spiritual Animal

1) Dragon

2a) rare unusual decoration Fish flying to the gate of heaven and incarnationatuio to Dragon

2b)Chillin

3)horse

4) Ming kui_xing,the god of literatur

compare with NH KOH collectiona “Kuixing”

 

The demon-faced like figure in the below picture is the God of Literature/Examiniation, Kui Xing.  He is usually depicted holding in one hand a brush and the other, a cake of ink.  He is widely worshipped by those who are seeking office or success in public examination.

 Kuixing

 

The demon-faced like figure in the below picture is the God of Literature/Examiniation, Kui Xing.  He is usually depicted holding in one hand a brush and the other, a cake of ink.  He is widely worshipped by those who are seeking office or success in public examination.

 

In below figurine, he is depicted with one foot on the head of  a big turtle.  This is related to the auspicious message on imperial examination success: du zhan ao tou (独占螯头), literally  it can be translated as (du zhan) standing alone, (ao tou) on the head of the turtle. 

In ancient China, the top 3 candidates in the metroplitan examination are given an audience with the emperor.   During the audience, the top candidate would stand alone on one of the steps leading to the throne.  On that step is curved a turtle-like creature.  That is how the phrase “du zhan ao tou” originated.

2. Lucky Fengsui long life  Animal

3. Lucky Fengsui Flower Chrysanthenum  and lotus  etc

4.Lucky Shou loglife and happ1ness calligraphy

5. The Eight Type of Buddhis  Emblem

6.Monochrome blue king

7.Polichrome santsai

8. insect

III.Transisi Ming-Qing

 

IV.Qing Dinasty

1) The early Qing (Kang Hsi)

2) The Lates Qing

Motif symbolic type and meaning

Type dan Arti Motif Simbolik

3.4.10

Motif Of Chinese Symbols

 

Bat Bat: Called bianfu in Chinese, the second character, fu, is a homophone for good fortune (also pronounced fu); it also symbolized longevity and happiness. Red bats mean “widespread good fortune” and five bats are a wish for the Five Blessings: longevity, wealth, good health, virtue, and a peaceful death. Bats and the swastika mean “ten thousand-fold wishes for good fortune and happiness.”

Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum: Symbolic of autumn, chrysanthemum also symbolizes longevity. With orchids, plum blossoms and bamboo they form si junzi (meaning the “Four Gentleman” or “Four Noble Qualities”) to represent the integrity and humility of the scholar.

Clouds Clouds:Omens of peace and symbol of the heavens.

Crane Crane:Believed to be immortal, the crane is a symbol of immortality and wisdom.

Deer Deer: Pronounced “lu” in Chinese, it is homophonous with a character meaning “wealth” and “official promotion.” It is the symbol of Luxing, the God of Rank and Remuneration (payment).

Double Gourd Double Gourd: Its many seeds make the gourd a symbol of fertility. The double gourd is also associated with deities and immortals.

Douniu Douniu: Closely resembling a dragon, the douniu has two large curved horns and a fish-like tail. In the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) badges with the douniu were worn by noblemen equal to a marquise and were also awards of imperial favor.

Dragon Dragon: The mythical dragon can control the weather, thus assuring a bountiful harvest and protection against evil. It is a symbol of wit, intelligence, power, vitality, ambition and good fortune, making it an appropriate symbol for the emperor.

Eight Buddhist Emblems: Originally rooted in Buddhism, in the Ming and Qing dynasties they were often combined with the Eight Precious Objects and the Eight Immortals’ Implements as general auspicious symbols for decorative purposes. They are the Lotus (purity), Wheel of the Law (Buddhist doctrine), Canopy or Parasol (protection and spiritual power), Paired Fish (freedom from restraint), Conch Shell (far-reaching sound of the Buddha’s teaching), Victory Standard (victory of the Buddha’s teachings and victory over all hindrances), Endless Knot (infinite wisdom and compassion of the Buddha), and Vase (elixir of life and container of treasures representing the granting of all wishes).
Lotus Wheel of Law Canopy or Parasol (protection and spiritual power) Paired Fish
Lotus Wheel of Law Canopy or Parasol Paired Fish
Conch Shell Victory Standard Endless Knot Vase
Conch Shell Victory Standard Endless Knot Vase

Eight Immortals’ Attributes: Each attribute is associated with one of the Eight Daoist Immortals and together signify their omnipresent power. The attributes are the fan of Zhong Liquan, the sword of Lu Dongbin, the bamboo musical instrument of Zhang Guolao, the castanets of Cao Guojiu, the double gourd of Li Tieguai, the flute of Han Xiangzi, the flower basket of Lan Caihe, and the lotus of He Xiangu.
Fan Sword Bamboo Musical Instrument Castanets
Fan Sword Bamboo Instrument Castanets
Double Gourd Flute Flower Basket Lotus
Double Gourd Flute Flower Basket Lotus

Eight Treasures: Emblems of success, status and wealth, originating in the implements used in the scholar’s studio, they therefore symbolize success in studies and officialdom. The most common Eight Treasures are double lozenges (victory), the wish-granting pearl, stone chimes (celebration; illustrated), a pair of scrolls (culture), an Artemisia leaf (protection), two books (wisdom), interlocked copper coins (wealth) and a pair of rhinoceros horns (victory). Additional emblems include the coral branch (longevity and official promotion), a silver ingot (wealth) and the wish-granting scepter (ruyi).
Double Lozenges Wish-Granting Pearls Stone Chimes Pair of Scrolls
Double Lozenges Wish-Granting Pearls Stone Chimes Pair of Scrolls
Artemisia Leaf Two Books Interlocked Copper Coins Rhinoceros Horns
Artemisia Leaf Two Books Interlocked Copper Coins Rhinoceros Horns

Feiyu Feiyu: A mythical creature with a dragon’s head, carp’s body and two horns; because it can fly it was called feiyu or “flying fish.” As an insignia of imperial favor in the Ming dynasty it was bestowed by the emperor on eunuchs and other officials.

Toad Lizard Centipede Snake
Toad Lizard Centipede Snake
Scorpion

Five Poisons: The toad, lizard, centipede, snake, and scorpion are the most common combination. They are believed to be most potent around the summer solstice and symbolize that annual astronomical event.

Scorpion

Hundred Antiques Hundred Antiques: A compilation over the centuries of miscellaneous objects, from which the Eight Treasures are drawn, they symbolize refinement and sophistication. Usually fewer than one hundred are actually shown.

Lantern Lantern: Made of paper or bamboo, lanterns were lit and hung everywhere for the Yuanxiao festival which falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Lanterns could be called qingfengshou, meaning good harvest and peace for all.

Lingzhi Lingzhi: A sacred fungus used in immortality elixirs. Resembling the shape of a ruyi scepter (wish-granting wand), the lingzhi symbolized immortality and shares the meaning of ruyi, “as you wish.”

Peach Peach: Associated with Shoulao, the God of Longevity, the peach is therefore a symbol of long life. Peach blossoms are symbols of spring and happiness.

Peony Peony: The most popular flower in Chinese art, the peony is called the “king of flowers.” It is closely associated with royalty because it was grown in the imperial gardens of the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-906) dynasties. It is also called “flower of rank and honor,” in which “honor” means attaining high rank, an official position or high social status.

Phoenix Phoenix: A mythical bird with the breast of a wild swan, throat of a swallow, bill of a rooster, forehead of a Manchurian crane, crest of a mandarin duck, the neck of a snake and the tail of a fish. The male phoenix is feng and the female huang; a pair symbolizes marital happiness. The five colors of the phoenix’s tail feathers represent benevolence, righteousness, propriety, knowledge and sincerity. It is also the emblem of the empress of China. The phoenix is popularly believed to appear only in times of peace and prosperity.

Plum Blossom Plum Blossom: A symbol of winter because it blossoms in the cold. Along with bamboo and pine, the plum is one of the “Three Friends of Winter,” a popular motif symbolizing longevity and resistance to the elements-the pine and bamboo are evergreens and pine and plum trees are long-lived.

Qilin Qilin: A mythical composite animal with a scaly body, hooves, a cow’s tail, and a single, fleshy horn (sometimes depicted with two horns). The qilin is a symbol of virtue and perfection. In the Qing dynasty it was the emblem of a first rank military officer.

Shou Character Shou Character: This character often appears in medallion form in Chinese art. The character means longevity and has become a decorative symbol for longevity as well.

Sun Disk Sun Disk: Said to represent the emperor. All creatures faced or turned toward the sun on rank badges as a symbol of loyalty to the throne. The sun disk was introduced on civil rank badges in the late seventeenth century; much later on military badges.

Swastika Swastika: A good luck symbol introduced into China from India with Buddhism. In 693 the Empress Wu declared the swastika as the source of all good fortune and called it wan, which is the same sound as the Chinese word for “ten thousand” or “infinity.” The addition of the swastika to a symbolic wish multiplies that wish 10,000 times.

Taihu rock Taihu Rock: Limestone rocks dredged from Lake Tai (Taihu) in Jiangsu province near Hangzhou and Suzhou were especially popular landscape elements in scholar’s gardens, although ordinary rocks were also carved with cavities in imitation of Taihu rocks. They are often referred to as “Scholar’s Rocks” and are a symbol of longevity.

Twelve Imperial Symbols: A group of twelve emblems symbolizing the emperor”s power and authority. Found on ritual attire since the later Han dynasty (23-220), they are often claimed to date from the third millennium bce. Only in the Ming and Qing dynasties do all twelve symbols appear on the daily court robes of the emperor.
Axe Constellation Flames Fu symbol
Axe Constellation Flames Fu symbol
Libation cups Millet Moon Mountains
Libation cups Millet Moon Mountains
Pair of Dragons Pheasant Sun Water Weed
Pair of Dragons Pheasant Sun Water Weed

Waves, Mountains, Rocks Waves, Mountains, Rocks: Stylized elements usually shown at the cuffs and/or hem of robes and on rank badges. Generally symbolizing the oceans, land and mountains, the combination suggests peace and harmony in the country (and by extension, the universe), presided over by the emperor. Diagonal lines representing water first appeared on robes in the early Qing period and were incorporated into rank badge design around the middle of the nineteenth century.

Xiezhi Xiezhi: A deer-like mythical creature with a single horn (sometimes with two horns) believed to be able to tell good from evil and use its horn to prod dishonest persons into changing their behavior. Consequently, the xiezhi became the insignia of the court censors who were charged with discovering corrupt officials.

Drawn from Asian Civilisations Museum, Power Dressing: Textiles for Rulers and Priests from the Chris Hall Collection, 2006; Terese T. Bartholomew, Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, 2006; C.A.S. Williams, Outlines of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives, 3rd revised edition, Shanghai, 1941 (Taiwan, 1972); John E. Vollmer, Ruling from the Dragon Throne, 2002. All images courtesy Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore.

 

 

The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( continiu )

THE ART MOTIF OF CHINA IMPERIAL CERAMIC FOUND IN INDONESIA

PART THREE

PART III. STUDIES RESULTS

 

By

Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

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THIS THE SAMPLE OF Dr Iwan Limited E-Book In CD-Rom with unedited non complete info illustration, the complete CD-Rom exist but only for premium member please subscribe via comment with your email address and private information same as  your ID-Card

 

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3.5.DISCUSS

Based on the above findings it can be concluded motif artwork Chinese kingdoms found in Indonesia as follows

Berdasarkan hasil temuan tersebut diatas dapat disimpulkan motif karya seni kerajaan Tiongkok yang ditemukan di Indonesia sebagai berikut

 

.3.5.1. RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

1.) motif Taoism

1.)      

Xian (Taoism)

This article is about Daoist immortals. For other uses, see Xian (disambiguation). Xian (Chinese: //; pinyin: xiān; Wade–Giles: hsien) is a Chinese word for an enlightened person, translatable in English as:

  • “spiritually immortal; transcendent; super-human; celestial being” (in Daoist/Taoist philosophy and cosmology)
  • “physically immortal; immortal person; immortalist; saint” (in Daoist religion and pantheon)
  • “alchemist; one who seeks the elixir of life; one who practices longevity techniques” or by extension “(alchemical, dietary, qigong) methods for attaining immortality” (in Chinese alchemy)
  • “wizard; magician; shaman” (in Chinese mythology)
  • “genie; elf, fairy; nymph” (in popular Chinese literature, 仙境 xian jing is “fairyland”, Faerie)
  • “sage living high in the mountains; mountain-man; hermit; recluse” (folk etymology for the character )
  • “immortal (talent); accomplished person; celestial (beauty); marvelous; extraordinary” (metaphorical modifier)

Xian semantically developed from meaning spiritual “immortality; enlightenment”, to physical “immortality; longevity” involving methods such as alchemy, breath meditation, and T’ai chi ch’uan, and eventually to legendary and figurative “immortality”.

The xian archetype is described by Victor H. Mair.

They are immune to heat and cold, untouched by the elements, and can fly, mounting upward with a fluttering motion. They dwell apart from the chaotic world of man, subsist on air and dew, are not anxious like ordinary people, and have the smooth skin and innocent faces of children. The transcendents live an effortless existence that is best described as spontaneous. They recall the ancient Indian ascetics and holy men known as ṛṣi who possessed similar traits.1994:376

The word xian[edit]

The most famous Chinese compound of xiān is Bāxiān (八仙 “the Eight Immortals“). Other common words include xiānrén (仙人 sennin in Japanese, “immortal person; transcendent”, see Xiānrén Dòng), xiānrénzhăng (仙人掌 “immortal’s palm; cactus“), xiānnǚ (仙女 “immortal woman; female celestial; angel”), and shénxiān (神仙 “gods and immortals; divine immortal”). Besides humans, xiān can also refer to supernatural animals. The mythological húlijīng 狐狸精 (lit. “fox spirit”) “fox fairy; vixen; witch; enchantress” has an alternate name of húxiān 狐仙 (lit. “fox immortal”).

The etymology of xiān remains uncertain. The circa 200 CE Shiming, a Chinese dictionary that provided word-pun “etymologies”, defines xiān () as “to get old and not die,” and explains it as someone who qiān ( “moves into”) the mountains.”

Edward H. Schafer (1966:204) defined xian as “transcendent, sylph (a being who, through alchemical, gymnastic and other disciplines, has achieved a refined and perhaps immortal body, able to fly like a bird beyond the trammels of the base material world into the realms of aether, and nourish himself on air and dew.)” Schafer noted xian was cognate to xian “soar up”, qian “remove”, and xianxian 僊僊 “a flapping dance movement”; and compared Chinese yuren 羽人 “feathered man; xian” with English peri “a fairy or supernatural being in Persian mythology” (Persian pari from par “feather; wing”).

Two linguistic hypotheses for the etymology of xian involve the Arabic language and Sino-Tibetan languages. Wu and Davis (1935:224) suggested the source was jinn, or jinnigenie” (from Arabic جني jinnī). “The marvelous powers of the Hsien are so like those of the jinni of the Arabian Nights that one wonders whether the Arabic word, jinn, may not be derived from the Chinese Hsien.” Axel Schuessler’s etymological dictionary (2007:527) suggests a Sino-Tibetan connection between xiān (Old Chinese *san or *sen) “‘An immortal’ … men and women who attain supernatural abilities; after death they become immortals and deities who can fly through the air” and Tibetan gšen < g-syen “shaman, one who has supernatural abilities, incl[uding] travel through the air”.

The character and its variants[edit]

The word xiān is written with three characters , , or , which combine the logographic “radicalrén ( or “person; human”) with two “phonetic” elements (see Chinese character classification). The oldest recorded xiān character has a xiān (“rise up; ascend”) phonetic supposedly because immortals could “ascend into the heavens”. (Compare qiān “move; transfer; change” combining this phonetic and the motion radical.) The usual modern xiān character , and its rare variant , have a shān ( “mountain”) phonetic. For a character analysis, Schipper (1993:164) interprets “‘the human being of the mountain,’ or alternatively, ‘human mountain.’ The two explanations are appropriate to these beings: they haunt the holy mountains, while also embodying nature.”

The Shijing (220/3) contains the oldest occurrence of the character , reduplicated as xiānxiān (僊僊 “dance lightly; hop about; jump around”), and rhymed with qiān (). “But when they have drunk too much, Their deportment becomes light and frivolous—They leave their seats, and [] go elsewhere, They keep [僊僊] dancing and capering.” (tr. James Legge)[1] Needham and Wang (1956:134) suggest xian was cognate with wu “shamanic” dancing. Paper (1995:55) writes, “the function of the term xian in a line describing dancing may be to denote the height of the leaps. Since, “to live for a long time” has no etymological relation to xian, it may be a later accretion.”

The 121 CE Shuowen Jiezi, the first important dictionary of Chinese characters, does not enter except in the definition for 偓佺 (Wo Quan “name of an ancient immortal”). It defines as “live long and move away” and as “appearance of a person on a mountaintop”.

Textual references[edit]

This section chronologically reviews how Chinese texts describe xian “immortals; transcendents”. While the early Zhuangzi, Chuci, and Liezi texts allegorically used xian immortals and magic islands to describe spiritual immortality, later ones like the Shenxian zhuan and Baopuzi took immortality literally and described esoteric Chinese alchemical techniques for physical longevity. On one the hand, neidan (內丹 “internal alchemy”) techniques included taixi (胎息 “embryo respiration”) breath control, meditation, visualization, sexual training, and Tao Yin exercises (which later evolved into Qigong and T’ai chi ch’uan). On the other hand, waidan (外丹 “external alchemy”) techniques for immortality included alchemical recipes, magic plants, rare minerals, herbal medicines, drugs, and dietetic techniques like inedia.

The earliest representations of Chinese immortals, dating from the Han Dynasty, portray them flying with feathery wings (the word yuren 羽人 “feathered person” later meant “Daoist”) or riding dragons. In Chinese art, xian are often pictured with symbols of immortality including the dragon, crane, fox, white deer, pine tree, peach, and mushroom.

 

 

Xian riding dragons[1]

 

Paintings of xian by Soga Shōhaku 曾我蕭白, ca. 1760.

Besides the following major Chinese texts, many others use both graphic variants of xian. Xian () occurs in the Chunqiu Fanlu, Fengsu Tongyi, Qian fu lun, Fayan, and Shenjian; xian () occurs in the Caizhong langji, Fengsu Tongyi, Guanzi, and Shenjian.

Zhuangzi[edit]

Two circa 3rd century BCE “Outer Chapters” of the Zhuangzi (莊子 “[Book of] Master Zhuang”) use the archaic character xian . Chapter 11 has a parable about “Cloud Chief” ()  and “Big Concealment” (鴻濛) that uses the Shijing compound xianxian (“dance; jump”):

Big Concealment said, “If you confuse the constant strands of Heaven and violate the true form of things, then Dark Heaven will reach no fulfillment. Instead, the beasts will scatter from their herds, the birds will cry all night, disaster will come to the grass and trees, misfortune will reach even to the insects. Ah, this is the fault of men who ‘govern’!”
“Then what should I do?” said Cloud Chief.
“Ah,” said Big Concealment, “you are too far gone! [
僊僊] Up, up, stir yourself and be off!”
Cloud Chief said, “Heavenly Master, it has been hard indeed for me to meet with you—I beg one word of instruction!”
“Well, then—mind‑nourishment!” said Big Concealment. “You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless. Undo the mind, slough off spirit, be blank and soulless, and the ten thousand things one by one will return to the root—return to the root and not know why. Dark and undifferentiated chaos—to the end of life none will depart from it. But if you try to know it, you have already departed from it. Do not ask what its name is, do not try to observe its form. Things will live naturally end of themselves.”
Cloud Chief said, “The Heavenly Master has favored me with this Virtue, instructed me in this Silence. All my life I have been looking for it, and now at last I have it!” He bowed his head twice, stood up, took his leave, and went away. (11, tr. Burton Watson 1968:122-3)

Chapter 12 uses xian when mythical Emperor Yao describes a shengren ( “sagely person”).

The true sage is a quail at rest, a little fledgling at its meal, a bird in flight who leaves no trail behind. When the world has the Way, he joins in the chorus with all other things. When the world is without the Way, he nurses his Virtue and retires in leisure. And after a thousand years, should he weary of the world, he will leave it and [] ascend to [] the immortals, riding on those white clouds all the way up to the village of God. (12, tr. Watson 1968:130)

Without using the word xian, several Zhuangzi passages employ xian imagery, like flying in the clouds, to describe individuals with superhuman powers. For example, Chapter 1, within the circa 3rd century BCE “Inner Chapters”, has two portrayals. First is this description of Liezi (below).

Lieh Tzu could ride the wind and go soaring around with cool and breezy skill, but after fifteen days he came back to earth. As far as the search for good fortune went, he didn’t fret and worry. He escaped the trouble of walking, but he still had to depend on something to get around. If he had only mounted on the truth of Heaven and Earth, ridden the changes of the six breaths, and thus wandered through the boundless, then what would he have had to depend on? Therefore I say, the Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame. (1, tr. Watson 1968:32)

Second is this description of a shenren (神人 “divine person”).

He said that there is a Holy Man living on faraway [姑射] Ku-she Mountain, with skin like ice or snow, and gentle and shy like a young girl. He doesn’t eat the five grains, but sucks the wind, drinks the dew, climbs up on the clouds and mist, rides a flying dragon, and wanders beyond the four seas. By concentrating his spirit, he can protect creatures from sickness and plague and make the harvest plentiful. (1, tr. Watson 1968:33)

The authors of the Zhuangzi had a lyrical view of life and death, seeing them as complimentary aspects of natural changes. This is antithetical to the physical immortality (changshengbulao 長生不老 “live forever and never age”) sought by later Daoist alchemists. Consider this famous passage about accepting death.

Chuang Tzu’s wife died. When Hui Tzu went to convey his condolences, he found Chuang Tzu sitting with his legs sprawled out, pounding on a tub and singing. “You lived with her, she brought up your children and grew old,” said Hui Tzu. “It should be enough simply not to weep at her death. But pounding on a tub and singing—this is going too far, isn’t it?” Chuang Tzu said, “You’re wrong. When she first died, do you think I didn’t grieve like anyone else? But I looked back to her beginning and the time before she was born. Not only the time before she was born, but the time before she had a body. Not only the time before she had a body, but the time before she had a spirit. In the midst of the jumble of wonder and mystery a change took place and she had a spirit. Another change and she had a body. Another change and she was born. Now there’s been another change and she’s dead. It’s just like the progression of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter.”
“Now she’s going to lie down peacefully in a vast room. If I were to follow after her bawling and sobbing, it would show that I don’t understand anything about fate. So I stopped. (18, tr. Watson 1968:191–2)

Alan Fox explains this anecdote about Zhuangzi’s wife.

Many conclusions can be reached on the basis of this story, but it seems that death is regarded as a natural part of the ebb and flow of transformations which constitute the movement of Dao. To grieve over death, or to fear one’s own death, for that matter, is to arbitrarily evaluate what is inevitable. Of course, this reading is somewhat ironic given the fact that much of the subsequent Daoist tradition comes to seek longevity and immortality, and bases some of their basic models on the Zhuangzi. (1995:100)

Chuci[edit]

 

 

The supposed “footprint of a xian“, a little pond in Guangzhou’s Temple of the Five Immortals

The 3rd-2nd century BCE Chuci (楚辭 “Lyrics of Chu”) anthology of poems uses xian once and xian twice, reflecting the disparate origins of the text. These three contexts mention the legendary Daoist xian immortals Chi Song (赤松Red Pine“, see Kohn 1993:142–4) and Wang Qiao (王僑, or Zi Qiao 子僑). In later Daoist hagiography, Chi Song was Lord of Rain under Shennong, the legendary inventor of agriculture; and Wang Qiao was a son of King Ling of Zhou (r. 571–545 BCE), who flew away on a giant white bird, became an immortal and was never again seen.

The “Yuan You” (遠遊 “Far-off Journey”) poem describes a spiritual journey into the realms of gods and immortals, frequently referring to Daoist myths and techniques.

My spirit darted forth and did not return to me,
And my body, left tenantless, grew withered and lifeless.
Then I looked into myself to strengthen my resolution,
And sought to learn from where the primal spirit issues.
In emptiness and silence I found serenity;
In tranquil inaction I gained true satisfaction.
I heard how once Red Pine had washed the world’s dust off:
I would model myself on the pattern he had left me.
I honoured the wondrous powers of the [
真人] Pure Ones,
And those of past ages who had become [
] Immortals.
They departed in the flux of change and vanished from men’s sight,
Leaving a famous name that endures after them. (tr. Hawkes 1985:194)

The “Xi shi” (惜誓 “Sorrow for Troth Betrayed”) resembles the “Yuan You“, and both reflect Daoist ideas from the Han period. “Though unoriginal in theme,” says Hawkes (1985:239), “its description of air travel, written in a pre-aeroplane age, is exhilarating and rather impressive.”

We gazed down of the Middle Land [China] with its myriad people
As we rested on the whirlwind, drifting about at random.
In this way we came at last to the moor of Shao-yuan:
There, with the other blessed ones, were Red Pine and Wang Qiao.
The two Masters held zithers tuned in perfect concord:
I sang the Qing Shang air to their playing.
In tranquil calm and quiet enjoyment,
Gently I floated, inhaling all the essences.
But then I thought that this immortal life of [
] the blessed,
Was not worth the sacrifice of my home-returning. (tr. Hawkes 1985:240)

The “Ai shi ming” (哀時命 “Alas That My Lot Was Not Cast”) describes a celestial journey similar to the previous two.

Far and forlorn, with no hope of return:
Sadly I gaze in the distance, over the empty plain.
Below, I fish in the valley streamlet;
Above, I seek out [
] holy hermits.
I enter into friendship with Red Pine;
I join Wang Qiao as his companion. We send the Xiao Yang in front to guide us;
The White Tiger runs back and forth in attendance.
Floating on the cloud and mist, we enter the dim height of heaven;
Riding on the white deer we sport and take our pleasure. tr. Hawkes 1985:266)

The “Li Sao” (離騷 “On Encountering Trouble”), the most famous Chuci poem, is usually interpreted as describing ecstatic flights and trance techniques of Chinese shamans. The above three poems are variations describing Daoist xian.

Some other Chuci poems refer to immortals with synonyms of xian. For instance, “Shou zhi” (守志 “Maintaining Resolution), uses zhenren (真人 “true person”, tr. “Pure Ones” above in “Yuan You“), which Wang Yi’s commentary glosses as zhen xianren (真仙人 “true immortal person”).

I visited Fu Yue, bestriding a dragon,
Joined in marriage with the Weaving Maiden,
Lifted up Heaven’s Net to capture evil,
Drew the Bow of Heaven to shoot at wickedness,
Followed the [
真人] Immortals fluttering through the sky,
Ate of the Primal Essence to prolong my life. (tr. Hawkes 1985:318)

Liezi[edit]

The Liezi (列子 “[Book of] Master Lie”), which Louis Komjathy (2004:36) says “was probably compiled in the 3rd century CE (while containing earlier textual layers)”, uses xian four times, always in the compound xiansheng (仙聖 “immortal sage”).

Nearly half of Chapter 2 (“The Yellow Emperor“) comes from the Zhuangzi, including this recounting of the above fable about Mount Gushe (姑射, or Guye, or Miao Gushe 藐姑射).

The Ku-ye mountains stand on a chain of islands where the Yellow River enters the sea. Upon the mountains there lives a Divine Man, who inhales the wind and drinks the dew, and does not eat the five grains. His mind is like a bottomless spring, his body is like a virgin’s. He knows neither intimacy nor love, yet [仙聖] immortals and sages serve him as ministers. He inspires no awe, he is never angry, yet the eager and diligent act as his messengers. He is without kindness and bounty, but others have enough by themselves; he does not store and save, but he himself never lacks. The Yin and Yang are always in tune, the sun and moon always shine, the four seasons are always regular, wind and rain are always temperate, breeding is always timely, the harvest is always rich, and there are no plagues to ravage the land, no early deaths to afflict men, animals have no diseases, and ghosts have no uncanny echoes. (tr. Graham 1960:35)

Chapter 5 uses xiansheng three times in a conversation set between legendary rulers Tang () of the Shang Dynasty and Ji () of the Xia Dynasty.

T’ang asked again: ‘Are there large things and small, long and short, similar and different?’
—’To the East of the Gulf of Chih-li, who knows how many thousands and millions of miles, there is a deep ravine, a valley truly without bottom; and its bottomless underneath is named “The Entry to the Void”. The waters of the eight corners and the nine regions, the stream of the Milky Way, all pour into it, but it neither shrinks nor grows. Within it there are five mountains, called Tai-yü, Yüan-chiao, Fang-hu, Ying-chou and P’eng-Iai. These mountains are thirty thousand miles high, and as many miles round; the tablelands on their summits extend for nine thousand miles. It is seventy thousand miles from one mountain to the next, but they are considered close neighbours. The towers and terraces upon them are all gold and jade, the beasts and birds are all unsullied white; trees of pearl and garnet always grow densely, flowering and bearing fruit which is always luscious, and those who eat of it never grow old and die. The men who dwell there are all of the race of [
仙聖] immortal sages, who fly, too many to be counted, to and from one mountain to another in a day and a night. Yet the bases of the five mountains used to rest on nothing; they were always rising and falling, going and returning, with the ebb and flow of the tide, and never for a moment stood firm. The [仙聖] immortals found this troublesome, and complained about it to God. God was afraid that they would drift to the far West and he would lose the home of his sages. So he commanded Yü-ch’iang to make fifteen [] giant turtles carry the five mountains on their lifted heads, taking turns in three watches, each sixty thousand years long; and for the first time the mountains stood firm and did not move.
‘But there was a giant from the kingdom of the Dragon Earl, who came to the place of the five mountains in no more than a few strides. In one throw he hooked six of the turtles in a bunch, hurried back to his country carrying them together on his back, and scorched their bones to tell fortunes by the cracks. Thereupon two of the mountains, Tai-yü and Yüan-chiao, drifted to the far North and sank in the great sea; the [
仙聖] immortals who were carried away numbered many millions. God was very angry, and reduced by degrees the size of the Dragon Earl’s kingdom and the height of his subjects. At the time of Fu-hsi and Shen-nung, the people of this country were still several hundred feet high.’ (tr. Graham 1960:97–8)

Penglai Mountain became the most famous of these five mythical peaks where the elixir of life supposedly grew, and is known as Horai in Japanese legends. The first emperor Qin Shi Huang sent his court alchemist Xu Fu on expeditions to find these plants of immortality, but he never returned (although by some accounts, he discovered Japan).

Holmes Welch (1957:88–97) analyzed the beginnings of Daoism, sometime around the 4th-3rd centuries BCE, from four separate streams: philosophical Daoism (Laozi, Zhuangzi, Liezi), a “hygiene school” that cultivated longevity through breathing exercises and yoga, Chinese alchemy and Five Elements philosophy, and those who sought Penglai and elixirs of “immortality”. This is what he concludes about xian.

It is my own opinion, therefore, that though the word hsien, or Immortal, is used by Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu, and though they attributed to their idealized individual the magic powers that were attributed to the hsien in later times, nonetheless the hsien ideal was something they did not believe in—either that it was possible or that it was good. The magic powers are allegories and hyperboles for the natural powers that come from identification with Tao. Spiritualized Man, P’eng-lai, and the rest are features of a genre which is meant to entertain, disturb, and exalt us, not to be taken as literal hagiography. Then and later, the philosophical Taoists were distinguished from all other schools of Taoism by their rejection of the pursuit of immortality. As we shall see, their books came to be adopted as scriptural authority by those who did practice magic and seek to become immortal. But it was their misunderstanding of philosophical Taoism that was the reason they adopted it. (Welch 1957:95)

Shenxian zhuan[edit]

 

 

An immortal riding a tortoise. A Han Dynasty painting

The Shenxian zhuan (神仙傳 Biographies of Spirit Immortals”) is a hagiography of xian. Although it was traditionally attributed to Ge Hong (283–343 CE), Komjathy (2004:43) says, “The received versions of the text contain some 100-odd hagiographies, most of which date from 6th-8th centuries at the earliest.”

According to the Shenxian zhuan, there are four schools of immortality:

(—“Pneumas”): Breath control and meditation. Those who belong to this school can

“…blow on water and it will flow against its own current for several paces; blow on fire, and it will be extinguished; blow at tigers or wolves, and they will crouch down and not be able to move; blow at serpents, and they will coil up and be unable to flee. If someone is wounded by a weapon, blow on the wound, and the bleeding will stop. If you hear of someone who has suffered a poisonous insect bite, even if you are not in his presence, you can, from a distance, blow and say in incantation over your own hand (males on the left hand, females on the right), and the person will at once be healed even if more than a hundred li away. And if you yourself are struck by a sudden illness, you have merely to swallow pneumas in three series of nine, and you will immediately recover.
But the most essential thing [among such arts] is fetal breathing. Those who obtain [the technique of] fetal breathing become able to breathe without using their nose or mouth, as if in the womb, and this is the culmination of the way [of pneumatic cultivation].” (Campany 2002:21)

Fàn (—“Diet”): Ingestion of herbal compounds and abstention from the Sān Shī Fàn (三尸—“Three-Corpses food”)—Meats (raw fish, pork, dog, leeks, and scallions) and grains. The Shenxian zhuan uses this story to illustrate the importance of bigu “grain avoidance”:

“During the reign of Emperor Cheng of the Han, hunters in the Zhongnan Mountains saw a person who wore no clothes, his body covered with black hair. Upon seeing this person, the hunters wanted to pursue and capture him, but the person leapt over gullies and valleys as if in flight, and so could not be overtaken. [But after being surrounded and captured, it was discovered this person was a 200 plus year old woman, who had once been a concubine of Qin Emperor Ziying. When he had surrendered to the ‘invaders of the east’, she fled into the mountains where she learned to subside on ‘the resin and nuts of pines’ from an old man. Afterwards, this diet ‘enabled [her] to feel neither hunger nor thirst; in winter [she] was not cold, in summer [she] was not hot.’]
The hunters took the woman back in. They offered her grain to eat. When she first smelled the stink of grain, she vomited, and only after several days could she tolerate it. After little more than two years of this [diet], her body hair fell out; she turned old and died. Had she not been caught by men, she would have become a transcendent.” (Campany 2002:22–23)

Fángzhōng Zhī Shù (房中之—“Arts of the Bedchamber”): Sexual yoga. (Campany 2002:30–31) According to a discourse between the Yellow Emperor and the immortaless Sùnǚ (素女—“Plain Girl”), one of the three daughters of Hsi Wang Mu,

“The sexual behaviors between a man and woman are identical to how the universe itself came into creation. Like Heaven and Earth, the male and female share a parallel relationship in attaining an immortal existence. They both must learn how to engage and develop their natural sexual instincts and behaviors; otherwise the only result is decay and traumatic discord of their physical lives. However, if they engage in the utmost joys of sensuality and apply the principles of yin and yang to their sexual activity, their health, vigor, and joy of love will bear them the fruits of longevity and immortality. (Hsi 2002:99–100)

The White Tigress Manual, a treatise on female sexual yoga, states,

“A female can completely restore her youthfulness and attain immortality if she refrains from allowing just one or two men in her life from stealing and destroying her [sexual] essence, which will only serve in aging her at a rapid rate and bring about an early death. However, if she can acquire the sexual essence of a thousand males through absorption, she will acquire the great benefits of youthfulness and immortality.” (Hsi 2001:48)

Dān (—”Alchemy“, literally “Cinnabar“): Elixir of Immortality.(Campany 2002:31)

Baopuzi[edit]

The 4th century CE Baopuzi (抱朴子 “[Book of] Master Embracing Simplicity”), which was written by Ge Hong, gives some highly detailed descriptions of xian.

The text lists three classes of immortals:

Tiānxiān (天仙—“Celestial Immortal”): The highest level.

Dìxiān (地仙—“Earth Immortal”): The middle level.

Shījiě xiān (尸解仙—”Escaped-by-means-of-a-stimulated-corpse-simulacrum Immortal”, literally “Corpse Untie Immortal”): The lowest level. This is considered the lowest form of immortality since a person must first “fake” their own death by substituting a bewitched object like a bamboo pole, sword, talisman or a shoe for their corpse or slipping a type of Death certificate into the coffin of a newly departed paternal grandfather, thus having their name and “allotted life span” deleted from the ledgers kept by the Sīmìng (司命—”Director of allotted life spans”, literally “Controller of Fate”). Hagiographies and folktales abound of people who seemingly die in one province, but are seen alive in another. Mortals who choose this route must cut off all ties with family and friends, move to a distant province, and enact the Ling bao tai xuan yin sheng zhi fu (靈寳太玄隂生之符—“Numinous Treasure Talisman of the Grand Mystery for Living in Hiding”) to protect themselves from heavenly retribution. (Campany 2002:52–60)

However, this is not a true form of immortality. For each misdeed a person commits, the Director of allotted life spans subtracts days and sometimes years from their allotted life span. This method allows a person to live out the entirety of their allotted lifespan (whether it be 30, 80, 400, etc.) and avoid the agents of death. But the body still has to be transformed into an immortal one, hence the phrase Xiānsǐ hòutuō (先死後脱—“The ‘death’ is apparent, [but] the sloughing off of the body’s mortality remains to be done.”)

Sometimes the Shījiě are employed by heaven to act as celestial peace keepers. Therefore, they have no need for hiding from retribution since they are empowered by heaven to perform their duties. There are three levels of heavenly Shījiě:

Dìxià zhǔ (地下主—“Agents Beneath the Earth”): Are in charge of keeping the peace within the Chinese underworld. They are eligible for promotion to earthbound immortality after 280 years of faithful service.

Dìshàng zhǔzhě (地上主者—”Agents Above the Earth”): Are given magic talismans which prolong their lives (but not indefinitely) and allow them to heal the sick and exorcize demons and evil spirits from the earth. This level was not eligible for promotion to earthbound immortality.

Zhìdì jūn (制地君—”Lords Who Control the Earth”): A heavenly decree ordered them to “disperse all subordinate junior demons, whether high or low [in rank], that have cause afflictions and injury owing to blows or offenses against the Motion of the Year, the Original Destiny, Great Year, the Kings of the Soil or the establishing or breaking influences of the chronograms of the tome. Annihilate them all.” This level was also not eligible for promotion to immortality.

These titles were usually given to humans who had either not proven themselves worthy of or were not fated to become immortals. One such famous agent was Fei Changfang, who was eventually murdered by evil spirits because he lost his book of magic talismans. However, some immortals are written to have used this method in order to escape execution. (Campany 2002:52–60)

Ge Hong wrote in his book The Master Who Embraces Simplicity,

The [immortals] Dark Girl and Plain Girl compared sexual activity as the intermingling of fire [yang/male] and water [yin/female], claiming that water and fire can kill people but can also regenerate their life, depending on whether or not they know the correct methods of sexual activity according to their nature. These arts are based on the theory that the more females a man copulates with, the greater benefit he will derive from the act. Men who are ignorant of this art, copulating with only one or two females during their life, will only suffice to bring about their untimely and early death. (Hsi 2001:48)

Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji[edit]

 

 

Hé (和) and Hé (合), the two “Immortals of Harmony and Unity”, associated with happy marriage, depicted in Changchun Temple, a Taoist temple in Wuhan

The Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji (鐘呂傳道集/钟吕传道集 “Anthology of the Transmission of the Dao from Zhong[li Quan] to Lü [Dongbin]“) is associated with Zhongli Quan (2nd century CE?) and Lü Dongbin (9th century CE), two of the legendary Eight Immortals. It is part of the so-called “Zhong-Lü” (鍾呂) textual tradition of internal alchemy (neidan). Komjathy (2004:57) describes it as, “Probably dating from the late Tang (618–906), the text is in question-and-answer format, containing a dialogue between Lü and his teacher Zhongli on aspects of alchemical terminology and methods.”

The Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji lists five classes of immortals:

Guǐxiān (鬼仙—”Ghost Immortal”): A person who cultivates too much yin energy. These immortals are likened to Vampires because they drain the life essence of the living, much like the fox spirit. Ghost immortals do not leave the realm of ghosts.

Rénxiān (人仙—Human Immortal”): Humans have an equal balance of yin and yang energies, so they have the potential of becoming either a ghost or immortal. Although they continue to hunger and thirst and require clothing and shelter like a normal human, these immortals do not suffer from aging or sickness. Human immortals do not leave the realm of humans. There are many sub-classes of human immortals, as discussed above under Shījiě xiān.

Dìxiān (地仙—“Earth Immortal”): When the yin is transformed into the pure yang, a true immortal body will emerge that does not need food, drink, clothing or shelter and is not affected by hot or cold temperatures. Earth immortals do not leave the realm of earth. These immortals are forced to stay on earth until they shed their human form.

Shénxiān (神仙—”Spirit Immortal”): The immortal body of the earthbound class will eventually change into vapor through further practice. They have supernatural powers and can take on the shape of any object. These immortals must remain on earth acquiring merit by teaching mankind about the Tao. Spirit immortals do not leave the realm of spirits. Once enough merit is accumulated, they are called to heaven by a celestial decree.

Tiānxiān (天仙—“Celestial Immortal”): Spirit immortals who are summoned to heaven are given the minor office of water realm judge. Over time, they are promoted to oversee the earth realm and finally become administrators of the celestial realm. These immortals have the power to travel back and forth between the earthly and celestial realms

a.The Natural World

Tao Phillosophy

Taoist philosophy is closely related to the meaning of a single word: the Chinese word “Tao.”

Every language, culture, and religion has words that convey more than one simple idea. Even though such words often have several layers of meaning, there is never any confusion as to what is being said.

Ask a dozen people, for example, to explain the word “heaven” — as likely as not, you’ll hear a dozen different definitions or descriptions. The same is true of the word “Tao,” which is often translated as “way” or “path.”

The Tao

Although there are many definitions of Tao, this one word communicates an entire philosophy, an outlook on the fundamental nature of life and the universe.

The word Tao is nothing less than an expression of the profound unity of the universe and of the path human beings must take to join, rather than disturb, that unity.

What is this path, and how do we find it? The path begins with an understanding of the origin of the universe. “Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of the way,” stated the ancient Chinese sage Lao Tzu, the author of the Tao Te Ching.

Known in English as The Book of the Way, this poetic masterpiece was written approximately 2,500 years ago. As well as being a matchless work of literature, it takes its place in history as the first written record of Taoist philosophy.

The Interdependence of All Things

Early Taoist philosophy was profoundly influenced by observations of nature. Taoist philosophers determined that everything has its complementary opposite. More than this, they saw that everything can only be understood by comparing it to its opposite.

Day is only day in relation to night, cold only cold in relation to heat, and soft only soft in relation to hard. Looking deeper still, they realized that these relationships are in a constant state of flux: Day flows gradually into night and back again.

All things, then, are interdependent. By observing the processes of nature, the Taoists say, we can come to some understanding about the meaning of our lives and about our place in the world. These concepts are the cornerstone of Taoist philosophy.

Taoist philosophers also noticed that what happens in nature is effortless. This does not mean that there is no struggle, but that events occur without premeditation.

Consider the life of a plant. The seed falls onto the ground. If the soil is fertile, and if it receives warmth, light, and water, it may emerge as a seedling. It does not require instruction to know how to take nourishment in through its roots or how to photosynthesize light and unfold into a mature plant.

Given the knowledge it contains, the plant is complete within its own nature. The Taoist asks: why should life be different for people? Why not allow situations to unfold as they may rather than trying to manipulate others and orchestrate events?

This belief in Taoist philosophy is known as the doctrine of doing-by-not-doing, and it lies at the heart of Taoist practice. It is the message of the following portion of Verse 29 of the Tao Te Ching:

Do you think you can take

over the universe

and improve it?

I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.

You cannot improve it.

If you try to change it,

you will ruin it.

If you try to hold it,

you will lose it.

Nature is complete without us, this verse tells us. We must recognize this fact and begin to participate with nature as a partner in the universal scheme.

Our mission, according to Taoist philosophy, is to return to a natural way of life, unencumbered by complicated social institutions and intellectual ideas. Doing so, Taoism suggests, will return us to a state of natural grace — Tao.

This contact with what is innately pure will, in turn, strengthen our spirit, the source of which is nature.

Continue reading to discover more about Tao, the path, and finding the way — all central components of Taoist philosophy.

 

b. The Moving Spirit

Move Energy Through Your Body, Move Your Life

Move Energy Through Your Body, Move Your Life.
by
Master Khaleghl Quinn

“The way you move is the way you live”. –The ancient Taoist philosophers

Movement characterizes life. To participate in life we must have movement in some dimension of our being. One who is paralyzed can move eyes and thoughts and the imagination. There is electrical movement in the nervous system. Pulse shows the heart is working. Breath moves in and out of the nostrils. This is how we determine life when there is no other apparent movement. Participation in any type of exercise shows a will to be engaged in life. I highly recommend the Chi Walking our Light Force Group practitioner Hazel Wood. Hazel Wood teaches so wonderfully!

Experience the uniqueness of being the transformer and transformed, receptive and active, yin and yang, simultaneously with my Chi-Cybernetics program. It provides a simple way to move yet offers refined motor movement that emulates natural ecologies in nature such as showers of light, fountains and the emanating ripples of energy from tossing pebbles in the lake. Over time these movements translate into rivers of healing, inner peace, and a stream of inspiration that may be tapped at any time. Skype sessions are available.

Ideally one does conscious movement three times a day starting with more vigorous in the morning, something soothing for the heart at noon such as golf, walking in green areas, and something unwinding in evening such as flowing movement that generates a mild, yet deep aerobic effect, and healthy rotation and stretching of the joints. Dance. Watch as a student performs Qigong movements in a session with Master Quinn. Move in the way you want to live and watch your life follow. You are the conductor!

http://thelightforcegroup.com/dr-quinns-blog/key-practice-2-move-energy-through-your-body-move-your-life/

Tao, Art of Flow – by John A. Salat

 

An Inspirational Journey Through Intimate Wisdom.

Personal Growth – Zen Prose – Spiritual Psychology – Eastern Philosophy

- Experience deeper dimensions of a powerful being.

- Allow your spirit to Flow effortlessly and timelessly.

- Pleasantly watch miracles pour daily through your life.

Steer your life towards radical new levels using innovative tools. Receive rich insights that actively transform your health, your career, and your relationships. John Salat’s personal experience freshly reveals this ancient knowledge to you with an intimate, artful Flow. His poetic, expressive, and meditative writing leads you through a warm spiritual journey of touching invisible, conscious streams. He explores Tao through an insightful personal story that unravels ancient secrets and leads you to explore a step by step series of guided contemplations in a fresh, new way.

For thousands of years, the organic knowledge of Tao (meaning “path”) has guided souls through an endless, serendipitous Flow. This living wisdom is energy that moves freely without our interference, because the world’s natural course carries this intelligence fluently with life’s balances of changing cycles. The mysterious philosophy of Tao is often sought from China’s Lao-Tzu’s writings of Tao Te Ching. This book, however, journeys beyond traditional writings by immersing you deep within your primordial awareness to reveal universal insights and inspiration for living in today’s contemporary world.

You will be touching everyday life situations responsibly through exploring a series of distinctions, open inquiries with warm reflective moments. This wisdom profoundly ignites while discovering your ways to hold this conscious path wide open. Through the natural course-ways, the soul begins powerfully to liberate and honor what it really needs. Accepting these magical synchronicities creates more than just meaningful coincidence; it taps intimately with having extraordinary experiences.

When pioneering human consciousness, we form as social innovators, visionaries and spiritual evolutionist. Whether you’re a coach, C.E.O, teacher or leader, this book profoundly opens fresh insights of laying these new foundations for your life. With this groundwork, the soul can expand having rich deep experiences, instead of letting these idle expressions rest quietly beneath our complex lives. Opportunities will further draw the soul inspirationally to touch life from a whole new world experience.

John Salat is a certified transformational leader, Chi Master, licensed architect, and signed musician. His meditative mediums are featured in many publications and broadcasted on both radio and television. He teaches weekly classes on effective communication skills, Tai Chi, Qigong, meditation, healing and Reiki. His clients include well-known actors, producers, writers, politicians and health practitioners. John Salat has traveled extensively throughout China and lives with his family in Southern California.

c. Cycles Of Change

The Seven Pillars of Tao

The origin of the cosmos
Is the eternal mother;
To grasp the mother is to know the child;
To know the child is to hold fast to the mother.
Then life becomes secure

 

By Lilian Too

The Seven Pillars of Tao

The origin of the cosmos
Is the eternal mother;
To grasp the mother is to know the child;
To know the child is to hold fast to the mother.
Then life becomes secure.

 

The term “mother” in Taoism is the formless aspect of the Tao, which can be viewed as the cosmic spiritual dimension. The term “child” refers to the worldly form we take. Both mother and child make up the multitude of shifting forms, and understanding one implies a comprehension of the true nature of the other and vice versa.
To neglect the mother is to cling only to material things and become obsessively attached to superficial forms and appearances. Perception of life becomes very shallow and unsatisfying. It leads to a life that can be meaningless.
To neglect the child is to despise the material world and focus only on the intangibles. Again this leads to a life that in the end is also meaningless.
For life to have meaning, we need to understand and appreciate both the formless world of the Cosmos (the mother energy) as well as the material world that comprises material things, forms and great abundance (the child energy). All of this is summarized in the 7 PILLARS OF TAO and only by appreciating these pillars of life and the origins of life can one control and steer one’s DESTINY towards a happy and meaningful life.

 

The 7 Pillars of Tao

  1. 1.   Concept of the 5 Elements: Everything in the universe can be categorized as one of the five elements. Taoism looks towards the “scientific” rather than the “divine” to explain the cycle of changes that characterize the natural and cosmic environments. In Chinese these five forces are called wu xing and this has roughly been translated as the five elements. The five elements are describes as metal, which signifies strength, wood, which signifies growth; water, which signifies flow, fire, which signifies ambition and earth which signifies the nurturing of the matriarch. Everything in the Universe falls into one of these five categories. Effective feng shui practice like Taoism is dependent on a profound understanding of the five elements and how they interact.
  2. 2.   Concept of Yin and Yang: Represents the polarity of forces: without one the other cannot exist. Taoism explains that the existence of all things is ONE manifesting two complimentary forms. Everything in the Cosmos comprises shifting forms that have life through the interaction of the polar forces of yin and yang. These forces or energies should be clearly recognized as two sides of the same coin, so that what is perceived at any single moment is merely one perception of the same thing. For example, yin and yang manifests as the sunless and sunny side of the same mountain.
  3. 3.   Concept of Non-Duality: Spiritual and material dimensions are one and the same. This is the first fundamental concept of the Tao. It is seamless, intangible and void so that everything that our senses perceive in the here and now are actually the same thing. This concept is similar to the Buddhist view of Emptiness, which states that form is void and void is form. To fully grasp the concept of non-duality, one needs to practice meditating on stillness and understanding this basic tenet of Taoism requires many hours of silent contemplation.
  4. 4.   Concept of Continuing Change: Nothing stays permanently the same, ever. Not even for a second. This fundamental truth lies at the very core of existence. Yet this dynamic, this constant flurry of activity does not lead to chaos, so that the ever changing remains forever unchanged! This seems like a contradiction in terms, but understanding this, you would begin to understand the way of the TAO and complete understanding of the TAO requires a fully qualified spiritual Master.
  5. 5.   Concept of Three Treasures: The semen, the breath and the spirit make up the three treasures. A deeper practice of the TAO requires an appreciation of the three treasures of existence and each of these treasures is said to have a cosmic counterpart making a total of six interacting treasures. The creation, nourishment and interplay of the six treasures contain the key to unlocking awesome “magical” abilities inherent within mankind’s potential. This prepares the way to the final achievement of the source.
  6. 6.   Concept of Aiming at the Lesser Goal: Because the ultimate goal is so difficult (return to the SOURCE) you do it step-by-step. Many Taoists are therefore happy to aim at the lesser goal, which is to attain increasingly profound realizations or intuitive insights into the true nature of existence. These realizations are almost always accompanied by sensations of intense bliss. Realizations of the “truth” bring a deepening of wisdom and generate feelings of joy and peace with the world.
  7. 7.   Concept of Returning to the Source: The ultimate goal of Taoist practice takes us into the realm of life after death, back to the source, which can mean different things to different practitioners. One definition is the attainment of Immortality, which we can suppose to be some spiritual type being who lives in a spiritual realm. Legend of course describes the Paradise of the Queen of the West, a seemingly inaccessible part of Earth, which is described as a place where everything is available in abundance. Another perhaps more profound definition of the source is that it is a goal so high it transcends all other goals conceived by man since beginningless time. Mere words cannot describe the indescribable state of returning back to the SOURCE of our true nature. It is so splendid, and it encompasses an immortality that is far beyond the power of all conception by mere mortals.
d. Heaven and Earth

Taoist philosophy forms the basis of Chinese culture.  I have been reading the writings of China’s greatest philosophers for over 45 years. There words are profound and subtle, and provide all the secrets of life, death, existence and non-existence, success and failure, heaven and hell, and health and disease.  I have compiled the key thoughts of some of these great masters, for myself and for you. This first compilaton is from the great early Taoist masters who contributed to the very foundation of Chinese culture and philosophy. These masters were all adepts at Life Cultivation, the art of radiant health and longevity. By carefully studying and meditating upon their words, you can glean the deep truths of  Tao, Yin and Yang, and the Three Treasures.

The Words of Zhou Jing

Jing, Qi and Shen activate the human being.  If they are not depleted they will work intrinsically to produce the substances needed to remain youthful.  The ancients have stated, “Heaven has three treasures — the sun, moon and stars.  Mankind has three treasures — Jing, Qi and Shen

e. Ritual

Overview About the Tao Religious Ritual Ceremony
 
To note, in the Taoist religion we are many religious rituals that we can implement in our daily lives, such as:
* Prayer Day Ceremony Greatness deities (Ri Ji Xian Shen Yi Shi Qing Dian)
At the time of the greatness of deities held ritual / ceremony in taokwan-taokwan/klenteng-klenteng. Used in this ceremony a large incense for ceremonial leaders and all the people of each using a small incense.
* Prayer Ceremony Wedding People Tao (Dao Jiao Shi Yi Jie Hun)
At this time the religious wedding ceremony can be held Tao is officially in some taokwan / temple.
* Prayer Ceremony Early Start Doing activities that Very Important (Falun Gong Kai Cheng Yi Shi)
In the Taoist religion, there is a kind of ritual to initiate an activity that is very important include: Launching a taokwan / temples, building dedication, prayers for peace and other countries. This ritual usually begins with a prayer to the Almighty God (Thien Kung)
* Moving Prayer Ceremony (Nuan Wu Yi Shi)
This ceremony is a rite of blessing for the new people who moved house, so that residents get warmth, fortune, health and protection of the Lord (Thien Kung) and deities.
* Ceremony Dao Yin / Initiation (Dao Yin Yi Shi)
Tao religion because that is thousands of years old certainly has a lot of flow. This flows naturally give rise to a variety of colleges that have their own rules. Dao Yin ceremony usually done as a way of initiation reception in one of the universities Taoist religion.
* New Prayer Ceremony Sites (Kai Guang Yi Shi)
Kai Guang ceremony performed when there are people who inaugurated the temple altar for prayer.
* Ceremony Cleaning House (Wu Xi Qu Yi Xie Shi)
In human life can not be denied that a lot of strange events that befall. Such as the presence of residents who often encounter interference from another dimension that can not be explained logically. To overcome this, Wu Xi ritual is performed.
* Ceremony antidote Annual Bala (Bao Yun Yi Shi)
Hua tribe in trust, the fate of mankind every year it’s always changing. We do not know whether that will be passed this year will be good or bad. Therefore in every Lunar New Year, temples held a ceremony rod reinforcements.
* Ceremony Reconciling Marrieds (He he Yi Shi)
This ceremony is a ceremony to reconcile marital relationship in order to create a less harmonious marital relationship back good so that peace can be created household.
* Apply for Extension of Age Ceremony (Yan Shou Yi Shi)
Yan Shou’s ceremony include unique ceremony performed in Taoist ritual, perhaps because religion is about 5000 years old. The ceremony is performed to invoke the extended life to the Almighty God and deities in an effort to help someone who is very ill to be cured and live longer.
* Ceremony pleading child (Qiu Shi Zi Yi)
Descent is an important thing in human life. The ceremony is held to invoke the child for married couples who have difficulty having children.
* Less than a month baby celebration ceremony (Man Yue Yi Shi)
Man Yue is a thanksgiving ritual performed by Taoists when even a month old baby
* The recognition ceremony foster child god (Guo Fang Yi Shi)
Guo Fang / Kwee Pang is the term that we often hear in the Hua tribe. Children who are sickly or have poor luck usually circumvented by kwee pang (raised pups to others). But the Taoist religion should kwee lap child right to the deities, as deities will be able to protect and keep the child rather than humans.
* Ceremony insert the corpse into the coffin (Ru Yi Lian Shi)
* Delivery ceremony the spirits of people who died (Chao Du Yi Shi)
This ritual is a prayer ceremony to usher in the spirit of the recently deceased, usually done at night ‘flower’, the night before the burial. All the children and grandchildren participate in this ritual.
* Went to the burial ceremony (Chu Shi Yi Bin)
* Funeral casket drop (Xia Zang Yi Shi)
* Ceremony Sowing Abu body (Sa Gu Hui Yi Shi)
For the corpse was not buried, but burned, the ashes are sown in the crystal clear sea so that our children and grandchildren get a good brightness and hockey.
* Ceremony move graves (Zang Yi Qian Shi)
Move the graves or tombs to dismantle the remnants of burned body is that sometimes can not be avoided in this modern era such as taxable evicted. The ceremony is also usually done if the family know that the graves of his ancestors did not get a good hong sui so moved to a nicer suinya hong.
* Ceremony sublimation spirits (Lien Hun Yi Jie Du Shi)
Life and death is normal / natural. There are times when the spirits of our loved ones having problems in there nature.
The ceremony was in the Taoist religion is an ancient ritual that is done with the aim of helping spirits who experience unfavorable circumstances there applied to God in order to be helped to be given a good place.
That is some ritual ceremonies in the Taoist religion which we can use our lives for the better.

 

Original info

 

Untuk diketahui, dalam agama Tao kita terdapat banyak upacara ritual keagamaan yang bisa kita implementasikan dalam kehidupan kita sehari-hari, diantaranya adalah :

* Upacara Doa Hari Kebesaran Dewa-Dewi (Shen Xian Ji Ri Qing Dian Yi Shi)

Pada saat hari kebesaran Dewa-Dewi diadakan ritual/upacara di taokwan-taokwan/klenteng-klenteng. Dalam upacara ini biasa digunakan satu hio besar untuk pemimpin upacara dan seluruh umat masing-masing menggunakan satu hio kecil.

* Upacara Doa Pernikahan Umat Tao (Dao Jiao Jie Hun Yi Shi)

Pada saat ini upacara pernikahan secara agama Tao sudah dapat dilaksanakan secara resmi di beberapa taokwan/kelenteng.

* Upacara Doa Awal Mulai Melakukan Kegiatan yang Sangat Penting (Gong Cheng Kai Gong Yi Shi)

Dalam agama Tao, ada semacam ritual untuk mengawali suatu kegiatan yang sangat penting antara lain : Peresmian sebuah taokwan/kelenteng, peresmian gedung, doa bersama untuk kedamaian negara dan lain-lain. Biasanya ritual ini dimulai dengan sembahyang kepada Tuhan Yang Maha Esa (Thien Kung)

* Upacara Doa Pindah Rumah (Nuan Wu Yi Shi)

Upacara ini adalah ritual pemberkatan untuk umat yang pindah rumah baru, agar penghuni rumah mendapatkan kehangatan, rejeki, kesehatan dan perlindungan dari Tuhan (Thien Kung) dan Dewa-Dewi.

* Upacara Dao Yin/Inisiasi (Dao Yin Yi Shi)

Agama Tao karena umurnya yang sudah ribuan tahun tentu saja mempunyai banyak aliran. Aliran-aliran ini tentu saja menimbulkan berbagai perguruan yang mempunyai aturan sendiri-sendiri. Upacara Dao Yin biasa dilakukan sebagai cara inisiasi penerimaan di salah satu perguruan-perguruan agama Tao.

* Upacara Peresmian Tempat Sembahyang Baru (Kai Guang Yi Shi)

Upacara Kai Guang dilakukan bila ada umat kelenteng yang meresmikan altar untuk sembahyang.

* Upacara Pembersihan Rumah (Xi Wu Qu Xie Yi Shi)

Dalam kehidupan manusia memang tidak bisa dipungkiri bahwa banyak kejadian-kejadian aneh yang menimpa. Seperti misalnya adanya penghuni rumah yang sering mengalami gangguan dari dimensi lain yang tidak bisa dijelaskan secara logika. Untuk mengatasi hal ini, ritual Xi Wu inilah yang dilakukan.

* Upacara Penangkal Bala Tahunan (Bao Yun Yi Shi)

Dalam kepercayaan suku Hua, nasib manusia setiap tahun itu selalu berubah-ubah. Kita tidak tahu apakah tahun yang akan dilalui ini akan baik atau buruk. Oleh karena itu di setiap pergantian tahun Imlek, kelenteng-kelenteng mengadakan suatu upacara penangkal bala.

* Upacara Merukunkan Suami-Istri (He he Yi Shi)

Upacara ini adalah upacara untuk merukunkan kembali hubungan suami istri yang kurang harmonis agar tercipta kembali hubungan suami istri yang baik sehingga ketentraman rumah tangga dapat tercipta.

* Upacara Memohon Perpanjangan Umur (Yan Shou Yi Shi)

Upacara Yan Shou ini termasuk upacara unik yang dilakukan dalam ritual agama Tao, mungkin karena agama ini sudah berumur sekitar 5000 tahun. Upacara ini dilakukan untuk memohon perpanjangan umur kepada Tuhan Yang Maha Esa dan Dewa-Dewi sebagai usaha untuk menolong seseorang yang sedang sakit keras untuk dapat sembuh dan berumur lebih panjang.

* Upacara memohon anak (Qiu Zi Yi Shi)

Keturunan merupakan suatu hal penting dalam kehidupan manusia. Upacara ini dilaksanakan untuk memohon anak bagi pasangan suami istri yang sulit mendapatkan anak.

* Upacara syukuran bayi genap sebulan (Man Yue Yi Shi)

Man Yue adalah ritual syukuran yang dilakukan oleh umat Tao ketika bayinya genap berumur satu bulan

* Upacara pengakuan anak angkat dewa (Guo Fang Yi Shi)

Guo Fang/Kwee Pang adalah istilah yang sering kita dengar dalam suku Hua. Anak-anak yang sakit-sakitan atau yang mempunyai nasib kurang baik biasanya disiasati dengan kwee pang(diangkat anakkan kepada orang lain). Tapi dalam agama Tao sebaiknya anak di kwee pang kan kepada Dewa-Dewi, karena Dewa-Dewi akan lebih bisa melindungi dan menjaga anak tersebut daripada manusia.

* Upacara memasukkan jenazah ke dalam peti (Ru Lian Yi Shi)

* Upacara pengantaran arwah orang yang baru meninggal (Chao Du Yi Shi)

Ritual ini adalah upacara doa untuk mengantarkan arwah orang yang baru meninggal, biasanya dilakukan pada malam ‘kembang’, malam sebelum dikuburkan. Semua anak dan cucu ikut dalam ritual ini.

* Upacara berangkat ke penguburan (Chu Bin Yi Shi)

* Upacara penguburan penurunan peti (Xia Zang Yi Shi)

* Upacara Penaburan Abu Jenazah (Sa Gu Hui Yi Shi)

Bagi jenazah yang tidak dikubur namun dibakar, abu jenazah ditabur di laut yang jernih agar anak cucu mendapatkan kecerahan dan hoki yang bagus.

* Upacara pindah kuburan (Qian Zang Yi Shi)

Memindahkan kuburan atau membongkar kuburan untuk dibakar sisa-sisa jenazahnya merupakan hal yang kadang tidak bisa dihindari pada jaman modern ini seperti kena gusur misalnya. Upacara ini juga biasa dilakukan apabila keluarga yang ditinggalkan mengetahui kalau kuburan nenek moyangnya tidak mendapat hong sui yang bagus sehingga dipindahkan ke tempat yang hong suinya lebih bagus.

* Upacara sublimasi arwah (Lien Hun Du Jie Yi Shi)

Kehidupan dan kematian merupakan hal yang wajar/alamiah. Ada kalanya arwah orang yang kita cintai mengalami kendala di alam sana.

Upacara ini dalam agama Tao adalah sebuah ritual kuno yang dilakukan dengan tujuan menolong arwah yang mengalami keadaan kurang baik disana dimohonkan kepada Dewa agar dapat ditolong untuk diberikan tempat yang baik.

Itulah beberapa ritual upacara dalam agama Tao yang dapat kita gunakan agar kehidupan kita menjadi lebih baik lagi.

f. The mystical Power Of Calligraphy

 

g.Secret Practices

h.The Realm Of The Immortal

 

 

RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

3.5.DISCUSS

Based on the above findings it can be concluded motif artwork Chinese kingdoms found in Indonesia as follows

Berdasarkan hasil temuan tersebut diatas dapat disimpulkan motif karya seni kerajaan Tiongkok yang ditemukan di Indonesia sebagai berikut

 

.3.5.1. RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

1.)     motif Taoism

Xian (Taoism)

This article is about Daoist immortals. For other uses, see Xian (disambiguation). Xian (Chinese: //; pinyin: xiān; Wade–Giles: hsien) is a Chinese word for an enlightened person, translatable in English as:

  • “spiritually immortal; transcendent; super-human; celestial being” (in Daoist/Taoist philosophy and cosmology)
  • “physically immortal; immortal person; immortalist; saint” (in Daoist religion and pantheon)
  • “alchemist; one who seeks the elixir of life; one who practices longevity techniques” or by extension “(alchemical, dietary, qigong) methods for attaining immortality” (in Chinese alchemy)
  • “wizard; magician; shaman” (in Chinese mythology)
  • “genie; elf, fairy; nymph” (in popular Chinese literature, 仙境 xian jing is “fairyland”, Faerie)
  • “sage living high in the mountains; mountain-man; hermit; recluse” (folk etymology for the character )
  • “immortal (talent); accomplished person; celestial (beauty); marvelous; extraordinary” (metaphorical modifier)

Xian semantically developed from meaning spiritual “immortality; enlightenment”, to physical “immortality; longevity” involving methods such as alchemy, breath meditation, and T’ai chi ch’uan, and eventually to legendary and figurative “immortality”.

The xian archetype is described by Victor H. Mair.

They are immune to heat and cold, untouched by the elements, and can fly, mounting upward with a fluttering motion. They dwell apart from the chaotic world of man, subsist on air and dew, are not anxious like ordinary people, and have the smooth skin and innocent faces of children. The transcendents live an effortless existence that is best described as spontaneous. They recall the ancient Indian ascetics and holy men known as ṛṣi who possessed similar traits.1994:376

The word xian[edit]

The most famous Chinese compound of xiān is Bāxiān (八仙 “the Eight Immortals“). Other common words include xiānrén (仙人 sennin in Japanese, “immortal person; transcendent”, see Xiānrén Dòng), xiānrénzhăng (仙人掌 “immortal’s palm; cactus“), xiānnǚ (仙女 “immortal woman; female celestial; angel”), and shénxiān (神仙 “gods and immortals; divine immortal”). Besides humans, xiān can also refer to supernatural animals. The mythological húlijīng 狐狸精 (lit. “fox spirit”) “fox fairy; vixen; witch; enchantress” has an alternate name of húxiān 狐仙 (lit. “fox immortal”).

The etymology of xiān remains uncertain. The circa 200 CE Shiming, a Chinese dictionary that provided word-pun “etymologies”, defines xiān () as “to get old and not die,” and explains it as someone who qiān ( “moves into”) the mountains.”

Edward H. Schafer (1966:204) defined xian as “transcendent, sylph (a being who, through alchemical, gymnastic and other disciplines, has achieved a refined and perhaps immortal body, able to fly like a bird beyond the trammels of the base material world into the realms of aether, and nourish himself on air and dew.)” Schafer noted xian was cognate to xian “soar up”, qian “remove”, and xianxian 僊僊 “a flapping dance movement”; and compared Chinese yuren 羽人 “feathered man; xian” with English peri “a fairy or supernatural being in Persian mythology” (Persian pari from par “feather; wing”).

Two linguistic hypotheses for the etymology of xian involve the Arabic language and Sino-Tibetan languages. Wu and Davis (1935:224) suggested the source was jinn, or jinnigenie” (from Arabic جني jinnī). “The marvelous powers of the Hsien are so like those of the jinni of the Arabian Nights that one wonders whether the Arabic word, jinn, may not be derived from the Chinese Hsien.” Axel Schuessler’s etymological dictionary (2007:527) suggests a Sino-Tibetan connection between xiān (Old Chinese *san or *sen) “‘An immortal’ … men and women who attain supernatural abilities; after death they become immortals and deities who can fly through the air” and Tibetan gšen < g-syen “shaman, one who has supernatural abilities, incl[uding] travel through the air”.

The character and its variants[edit]

The word xiān is written with three characters , , or , which combine the logographic “radicalrén ( or “person; human”) with two “phonetic” elements (see Chinese character classification). The oldest recorded xiān character has a xiān (“rise up; ascend”) phonetic supposedly because immortals could “ascend into the heavens”. (Compare qiān “move; transfer; change” combining this phonetic and the motion radical.) The usual modern xiān character , and its rare variant , have a shān ( “mountain”) phonetic. For a character analysis, Schipper (1993:164) interprets “‘the human being of the mountain,’ or alternatively, ‘human mountain.’ The two explanations are appropriate to these beings: they haunt the holy mountains, while also embodying nature.”

The Shijing (220/3) contains the oldest occurrence of the character , reduplicated as xiānxiān (僊僊 “dance lightly; hop about; jump around”), and rhymed with qiān (). “But when they have drunk too much, Their deportment becomes light and frivolous—They leave their seats, and [] go elsewhere, They keep [僊僊] dancing and capering.” (tr. James Legge)[1] Needham and Wang (1956:134) suggest xian was cognate with wu “shamanic” dancing. Paper (1995:55) writes, “the function of the term xian in a line describing dancing may be to denote the height of the leaps. Since, “to live for a long time” has no etymological relation to xian, it may be a later accretion.”

The 121 CE Shuowen Jiezi, the first important dictionary of Chinese characters, does not enter except in the definition for 偓佺 (Wo Quan “name of an ancient immortal”). It defines as “live long and move away” and as “appearance of a person on a mountaintop”.

Textual references[edit]

This section chronologically reviews how Chinese texts describe xian “immortals; transcendents”. While the early Zhuangzi, Chuci, and Liezi texts allegorically used xian immortals and magic islands to describe spiritual immortality, later ones like the Shenxian zhuan and Baopuzi took immortality literally and described esoteric Chinese alchemical techniques for physical longevity. On one the hand, neidan (內丹 “internal alchemy”) techniques included taixi (胎息 “embryo respiration”) breath control, meditation, visualization, sexual training, and Tao Yin exercises (which later evolved into Qigong and T’ai chi ch’uan). On the other hand, waidan (外丹 “external alchemy”) techniques for immortality included alchemical recipes, magic plants, rare minerals, herbal medicines, drugs, and dietetic techniques like inedia.

The earliest representations of Chinese immortals, dating from the Han Dynasty, portray them flying with feathery wings (the word yuren 羽人 “feathered person” later meant “Daoist”) or riding dragons. In Chinese art, xian are often pictured with symbols of immortality including the dragon, crane, fox, white deer, pine tree, peach, and mushroom.

 

 

Xian riding dragons[1]

 

Paintings of xian by Soga Shōhaku 曾我蕭白, ca. 1760.

Besides the following major Chinese texts, many others use both graphic variants of xian. Xian () occurs in the Chunqiu Fanlu, Fengsu Tongyi, Qian fu lun, Fayan, and Shenjian; xian () occurs in the Caizhong langji, Fengsu Tongyi, Guanzi, and Shenjian.

Zhuangzi[edit]

Two circa 3rd century BCE “Outer Chapters” of the Zhuangzi (莊子 “[Book of] Master Zhuang”) use the archaic character xian . Chapter 11 has a parable about “Cloud Chief” ()  and “Big Concealment” (鴻濛) that uses the Shijing compound xianxian (“dance; jump”):

Big Concealment said, “If you confuse the constant strands of Heaven and violate the true form of things, then Dark Heaven will reach no fulfillment. Instead, the beasts will scatter from their herds, the birds will cry all night, disaster will come to the grass and trees, misfortune will reach even to the insects. Ah, this is the fault of men who ‘govern’!”
“Then what should I do?” said Cloud Chief.
“Ah,” said Big Concealment, “you are too far gone! [
僊僊] Up, up, stir yourself and be off!”
Cloud Chief said, “Heavenly Master, it has been hard indeed for me to meet with you—I beg one word of instruction!”
“Well, then—mind‑nourishment!” said Big Concealment. “You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless. Undo the mind, slough off spirit, be blank and soulless, and the ten thousand things one by one will return to the root—return to the root and not know why. Dark and undifferentiated chaos—to the end of life none will depart from it. But if you try to know it, you have already departed from it. Do not ask what its name is, do not try to observe its form. Things will live naturally end of themselves.”
Cloud Chief said, “The Heavenly Master has favored me with this Virtue, instructed me in this Silence. All my life I have been looking for it, and now at last I have it!” He bowed his head twice, stood up, took his leave, and went away. (11, tr. Burton Watson 1968:122-3)

Chapter 12 uses xian when mythical Emperor Yao describes a shengren ( “sagely person”).

The true sage is a quail at rest, a little fledgling at its meal, a bird in flight who leaves no trail behind. When the world has the Way, he joins in the chorus with all other things. When the world is without the Way, he nurses his Virtue and retires in leisure. And after a thousand years, should he weary of the world, he will leave it and [] ascend to [] the immortals, riding on those white clouds all the way up to the village of God. (12, tr. Watson 1968:130)

Without using the word xian, several Zhuangzi passages employ xian imagery, like flying in the clouds, to describe individuals with superhuman powers. For example, Chapter 1, within the circa 3rd century BCE “Inner Chapters”, has two portrayals. First is this description of Liezi (below).

Lieh Tzu could ride the wind and go soaring around with cool and breezy skill, but after fifteen days he came back to earth. As far as the search for good fortune went, he didn’t fret and worry. He escaped the trouble of walking, but he still had to depend on something to get around. If he had only mounted on the truth of Heaven and Earth, ridden the changes of the six breaths, and thus wandered through the boundless, then what would he have had to depend on? Therefore I say, the Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame. (1, tr. Watson 1968:32)

Second is this description of a shenren (神人 “divine person”).

He said that there is a Holy Man living on faraway [姑射] Ku-she Mountain, with skin like ice or snow, and gentle and shy like a young girl. He doesn’t eat the five grains, but sucks the wind, drinks the dew, climbs up on the clouds and mist, rides a flying dragon, and wanders beyond the four seas. By concentrating his spirit, he can protect creatures from sickness and plague and make the harvest plentiful. (1, tr. Watson 1968:33)

The authors of the Zhuangzi had a lyrical view of life and death, seeing them as complimentary aspects of natural changes. This is antithetical to the physical immortality (changshengbulao 長生不老 “live forever and never age”) sought by later Daoist alchemists. Consider this famous passage about accepting death.

Chuang Tzu’s wife died. When Hui Tzu went to convey his condolences, he found Chuang Tzu sitting with his legs sprawled out, pounding on a tub and singing. “You lived with her, she brought up your children and grew old,” said Hui Tzu. “It should be enough simply not to weep at her death. But pounding on a tub and singing—this is going too far, isn’t it?” Chuang Tzu said, “You’re wrong. When she first died, do you think I didn’t grieve like anyone else? But I looked back to her beginning and the time before she was born. Not only the time before she was born, but the time before she had a body. Not only the time before she had a body, but the time before she had a spirit. In the midst of the jumble of wonder and mystery a change took place and she had a spirit. Another change and she had a body. Another change and she was born. Now there’s been another change and she’s dead. It’s just like the progression of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter.”
“Now she’s going to lie down peacefully in a vast room. If I were to follow after her bawling and sobbing, it would show that I don’t understand anything about fate. So I stopped. (18, tr. Watson 1968:191–2)

Alan Fox explains this anecdote about Zhuangzi’s wife.

Many conclusions can be reached on the basis of this story, but it seems that death is regarded as a natural part of the ebb and flow of transformations which constitute the movement of Dao. To grieve over death, or to fear one’s own death, for that matter, is to arbitrarily evaluate what is inevitable. Of course, this reading is somewhat ironic given the fact that much of the subsequent Daoist tradition comes to seek longevity and immortality, and bases some of their basic models on the Zhuangzi. (1995:100)

Chuci[edit]

 

 

The supposed “footprint of a xian“, a little pond in Guangzhou’s Temple of the Five Immortals

The 3rd-2nd century BCE Chuci (楚辭 “Lyrics of Chu”) anthology of poems uses xian once and xian twice, reflecting the disparate origins of the text. These three contexts mention the legendary Daoist xian immortals Chi Song (赤松Red Pine“, see Kohn 1993:142–4) and Wang Qiao (王僑, or Zi Qiao 子僑). In later Daoist hagiography, Chi Song was Lord of Rain under Shennong, the legendary inventor of agriculture; and Wang Qiao was a son of King Ling of Zhou (r. 571–545 BCE), who flew away on a giant white bird, became an immortal and was never again seen.

The “Yuan You” (遠遊 “Far-off Journey”) poem describes a spiritual journey into the realms of gods and immortals, frequently referring to Daoist myths and techniques.

My spirit darted forth and did not return to me,
And my body, left tenantless, grew withered and lifeless.
Then I looked into myself to strengthen my resolution,
And sought to learn from where the primal spirit issues.
In emptiness and silence I found serenity;
In tranquil inaction I gained true satisfaction.
I heard how once Red Pine had washed the world’s dust off:
I would model myself on the pattern he had left me.
I honoured the wondrous powers of the [
真人] Pure Ones,
And those of past ages who had become [
] Immortals.
They departed in the flux of change and vanished from men’s sight,
Leaving a famous name that endures after them. (tr. Hawkes 1985:194)

The “Xi shi” (惜誓 “Sorrow for Troth Betrayed”) resembles the “Yuan You“, and both reflect Daoist ideas from the Han period. “Though unoriginal in theme,” says Hawkes (1985:239), “its description of air travel, written in a pre-aeroplane age, is exhilarating and rather impressive.”

We gazed down of the Middle Land [China] with its myriad people
As we rested on the whirlwind, drifting about at random.
In this way we came at last to the moor of Shao-yuan:
There, with the other blessed ones, were Red Pine and Wang Qiao.
The two Masters held zithers tuned in perfect concord:
I sang the Qing Shang air to their playing.
In tranquil calm and quiet enjoyment,
Gently I floated, inhaling all the essences.
But then I thought that this immortal life of [
] the blessed,
Was not worth the sacrifice of my home-returning. (tr. Hawkes 1985:240)

The “Ai shi ming” (哀時命 “Alas That My Lot Was Not Cast”) describes a celestial journey similar to the previous two.

Far and forlorn, with no hope of return:
Sadly I gaze in the distance, over the empty plain.
Below, I fish in the valley streamlet;
Above, I seek out [
] holy hermits.
I enter into friendship with Red Pine;
I join Wang Qiao as his companion. We send the Xiao Yang in front to guide us;
The White Tiger runs back and forth in attendance.
Floating on the cloud and mist, we enter the dim height of heaven;
Riding on the white deer we sport and take our pleasure. tr. Hawkes 1985:266)

The “Li Sao” (離騷 “On Encountering Trouble”), the most famous Chuci poem, is usually interpreted as describing ecstatic flights and trance techniques of Chinese shamans. The above three poems are variations describing Daoist xian.

Some other Chuci poems refer to immortals with synonyms of xian. For instance, “Shou zhi” (守志 “Maintaining Resolution), uses zhenren (真人 “true person”, tr. “Pure Ones” above in “Yuan You“), which Wang Yi’s commentary glosses as zhen xianren (真仙人 “true immortal person”).

I visited Fu Yue, bestriding a dragon,
Joined in marriage with the Weaving Maiden,
Lifted up Heaven’s Net to capture evil,
Drew the Bow of Heaven to shoot at wickedness,
Followed the [
真人] Immortals fluttering through the sky,
Ate of the Primal Essence to prolong my life. (tr. Hawkes 1985:318)

Liezi[edit]

The Liezi (列子 “[Book of] Master Lie”), which Louis Komjathy (2004:36) says “was probably compiled in the 3rd century CE (while containing earlier textual layers)”, uses xian four times, always in the compound xiansheng (仙聖 “immortal sage”).

Nearly half of Chapter 2 (“The Yellow Emperor“) comes from the Zhuangzi, including this recounting of the above fable about Mount Gushe (姑射, or Guye, or Miao Gushe 藐姑射).

The Ku-ye mountains stand on a chain of islands where the Yellow River enters the sea. Upon the mountains there lives a Divine Man, who inhales the wind and drinks the dew, and does not eat the five grains. His mind is like a bottomless spring, his body is like a virgin’s. He knows neither intimacy nor love, yet [仙聖] immortals and sages serve him as ministers. He inspires no awe, he is never angry, yet the eager and diligent act as his messengers. He is without kindness and bounty, but others have enough by themselves; he does not store and save, but he himself never lacks. The Yin and Yang are always in tune, the sun and moon always shine, the four seasons are always regular, wind and rain are always temperate, breeding is always timely, the harvest is always rich, and there are no plagues to ravage the land, no early deaths to afflict men, animals have no diseases, and ghosts have no uncanny echoes. (tr. Graham 1960:35)

Chapter 5 uses xiansheng three times in a conversation set between legendary rulers Tang () of the Shang Dynasty and Ji () of the Xia Dynasty.

T’ang asked again: ‘Are there large things and small, long and short, similar and different?’
—’To the East of the Gulf of Chih-li, who knows how many thousands and millions of miles, there is a deep ravine, a valley truly without bottom; and its bottomless underneath is named “The Entry to the Void”. The waters of the eight corners and the nine regions, the stream of the Milky Way, all pour into it, but it neither shrinks nor grows. Within it there are five mountains, called Tai-yü, Yüan-chiao, Fang-hu, Ying-chou and P’eng-Iai. These mountains are thirty thousand miles high, and as many miles round; the tablelands on their summits extend for nine thousand miles. It is seventy thousand miles from one mountain to the next, but they are considered close neighbours. The towers and terraces upon them are all gold and jade, the beasts and birds are all unsullied white; trees of pearl and garnet always grow densely, flowering and bearing fruit which is always luscious, and those who eat of it never grow old and die. The men who dwell there are all of the race of [
仙聖] immortal sages, who fly, too many to be counted, to and from one mountain to another in a day and a night. Yet the bases of the five mountains used to rest on nothing; they were always rising and falling, going and returning, with the ebb and flow of the tide, and never for a moment stood firm. The [仙聖] immortals found this troublesome, and complained about it to God. God was afraid that they would drift to the far West and he would lose the home of his sages. So he commanded Yü-ch’iang to make fifteen [] giant turtles carry the five mountains on their lifted heads, taking turns in three watches, each sixty thousand years long; and for the first time the mountains stood firm and did not move.
‘But there was a giant from the kingdom of the Dragon Earl, who came to the place of the five mountains in no more than a few strides. In one throw he hooked six of the turtles in a bunch, hurried back to his country carrying them together on his back, and scorched their bones to tell fortunes by the cracks. Thereupon two of the mountains, Tai-yü and Yüan-chiao, drifted to the far North and sank in the great sea; the [
仙聖] immortals who were carried away numbered many millions. God was very angry, and reduced by degrees the size of the Dragon Earl’s kingdom and the height of his subjects. At the time of Fu-hsi and Shen-nung, the people of this country were still several hundred feet high.’ (tr. Graham 1960:97–8)

Penglai Mountain became the most famous of these five mythical peaks where the elixir of life supposedly grew, and is known as Horai in Japanese legends. The first emperor Qin Shi Huang sent his court alchemist Xu Fu on expeditions to find these plants of immortality, but he never returned (although by some accounts, he discovered Japan).

Holmes Welch (1957:88–97) analyzed the beginnings of Daoism, sometime around the 4th-3rd centuries BCE, from four separate streams: philosophical Daoism (Laozi, Zhuangzi, Liezi), a “hygiene school” that cultivated longevity through breathing exercises and yoga, Chinese alchemy and Five Elements philosophy, and those who sought Penglai and elixirs of “immortality”. This is what he concludes about xian.

It is my own opinion, therefore, that though the word hsien, or Immortal, is used by Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu, and though they attributed to their idealized individual the magic powers that were attributed to the hsien in later times, nonetheless the hsien ideal was something they did not believe in—either that it was possible or that it was good. The magic powers are allegories and hyperboles for the natural powers that come from identification with Tao. Spiritualized Man, P’eng-lai, and the rest are features of a genre which is meant to entertain, disturb, and exalt us, not to be taken as literal hagiography. Then and later, the philosophical Taoists were distinguished from all other schools of Taoism by their rejection of the pursuit of immortality. As we shall see, their books came to be adopted as scriptural authority by those who did practice magic and seek to become immortal. But it was their misunderstanding of philosophical Taoism that was the reason they adopted it. (Welch 1957:95)

Shenxian zhuan[edit]

 

 

An immortal riding a tortoise. A Han Dynasty painting

The Shenxian zhuan (神仙傳 Biographies of Spirit Immortals”) is a hagiography of xian. Although it was traditionally attributed to Ge Hong (283–343 CE), Komjathy (2004:43) says, “The received versions of the text contain some 100-odd hagiographies, most of which date from 6th-8th centuries at the earliest.”

According to the Shenxian zhuan, there are four schools of immortality:

(—“Pneumas”): Breath control and meditation. Those who belong to this school can

“…blow on water and it will flow against its own current for several paces; blow on fire, and it will be extinguished; blow at tigers or wolves, and they will crouch down and not be able to move; blow at serpents, and they will coil up and be unable to flee. If someone is wounded by a weapon, blow on the wound, and the bleeding will stop. If you hear of someone who has suffered a poisonous insect bite, even if you are not in his presence, you can, from a distance, blow and say in incantation over your own hand (males on the left hand, females on the right), and the person will at once be healed even if more than a hundred li away. And if you yourself are struck by a sudden illness, you have merely to swallow pneumas in three series of nine, and you will immediately recover.
But the most essential thing [among such arts] is fetal breathing. Those who obtain [the technique of] fetal breathing become able to breathe without using their nose or mouth, as if in the womb, and this is the culmination of the way [of pneumatic cultivation].” (Campany 2002:21)

Fàn (—“Diet”): Ingestion of herbal compounds and abstention from the Sān Shī Fàn (三尸—“Three-Corpses food”)—Meats (raw fish, pork, dog, leeks, and scallions) and grains. The Shenxian zhuan uses this story to illustrate the importance of bigu “grain avoidance”:

“During the reign of Emperor Cheng of the Han, hunters in the Zhongnan Mountains saw a person who wore no clothes, his body covered with black hair. Upon seeing this person, the hunters wanted to pursue and capture him, but the person leapt over gullies and valleys as if in flight, and so could not be overtaken. [But after being surrounded and captured, it was discovered this person was a 200 plus year old woman, who had once been a concubine of Qin Emperor Ziying. When he had surrendered to the ‘invaders of the east’, she fled into the mountains where she learned to subside on ‘the resin and nuts of pines’ from an old man. Afterwards, this diet ‘enabled [her] to feel neither hunger nor thirst; in winter [she] was not cold, in summer [she] was not hot.’]
The hunters took the woman back in. They offered her grain to eat. When she first smelled the stink of grain, she vomited, and only after several days could she tolerate it. After little more than two years of this [diet], her body hair fell out; she turned old and died. Had she not been caught by men, she would have become a transcendent.” (Campany 2002:22–23)

Fángzhōng Zhī Shù (房中之—“Arts of the Bedchamber”): Sexual yoga. (Campany 2002:30–31) According to a discourse between the Yellow Emperor and the immortaless Sùnǚ (素女—“Plain Girl”), one of the three daughters of Hsi Wang Mu,

“The sexual behaviors between a man and woman are identical to how the universe itself came into creation. Like Heaven and Earth, the male and female share a parallel relationship in attaining an immortal existence. They both must learn how to engage and develop their natural sexual instincts and behaviors; otherwise the only result is decay and traumatic discord of their physical lives. However, if they engage in the utmost joys of sensuality and apply the principles of yin and yang to their sexual activity, their health, vigor, and joy of love will bear them the fruits of longevity and immortality. (Hsi 2002:99–100)

The White Tigress Manual, a treatise on female sexual yoga, states,

“A female can completely restore her youthfulness and attain immortality if she refrains from allowing just one or two men in her life from stealing and destroying her [sexual] essence, which will only serve in aging her at a rapid rate and bring about an early death. However, if she can acquire the sexual essence of a thousand males through absorption, she will acquire the great benefits of youthfulness and immortality.” (Hsi 2001:48)

Dān (—”Alchemy“, literally “Cinnabar“): Elixir of Immortality.(Campany 2002:31)

Baopuzi[edit]

The 4th century CE Baopuzi (抱朴子 “[Book of] Master Embracing Simplicity”), which was written by Ge Hong, gives some highly detailed descriptions of xian.

The text lists three classes of immortals:

Tiānxiān (天仙—“Celestial Immortal”): The highest level.

Dìxiān (地仙—“Earth Immortal”): The middle level.

Shījiě xiān (尸解仙—”Escaped-by-means-of-a-stimulated-corpse-simulacrum Immortal”, literally “Corpse Untie Immortal”): The lowest level. This is considered the lowest form of immortality since a person must first “fake” their own death by substituting a bewitched object like a bamboo pole, sword, talisman or a shoe for their corpse or slipping a type of Death certificate into the coffin of a newly departed paternal grandfather, thus having their name and “allotted life span” deleted from the ledgers kept by the Sīmìng (司命—”Director of allotted life spans”, literally “Controller of Fate”). Hagiographies and folktales abound of people who seemingly die in one province, but are seen alive in another. Mortals who choose this route must cut off all ties with family and friends, move to a distant province, and enact the Ling bao tai xuan yin sheng zhi fu (靈寳太玄隂生之符—“Numinous Treasure Talisman of the Grand Mystery for Living in Hiding”) to protect themselves from heavenly retribution. (Campany 2002:52–60)

However, this is not a true form of immortality. For each misdeed a person commits, the Director of allotted life spans subtracts days and sometimes years from their allotted life span. This method allows a person to live out the entirety of their allotted lifespan (whether it be 30, 80, 400, etc.) and avoid the agents of death. But the body still has to be transformed into an immortal one, hence the phrase Xiānsǐ hòutuō (先死後脱—“The ‘death’ is apparent, [but] the sloughing off of the body’s mortality remains to be done.”)

Sometimes the Shījiě are employed by heaven to act as celestial peace keepers. Therefore, they have no need for hiding from retribution since they are empowered by heaven to perform their duties. There are three levels of heavenly Shījiě:

Dìxià zhǔ (地下主—“Agents Beneath the Earth”): Are in charge of keeping the peace within the Chinese underworld. They are eligible for promotion to earthbound immortality after 280 years of faithful service.

Dìshàng zhǔzhě (地上主者—”Agents Above the Earth”): Are given magic talismans which prolong their lives (but not indefinitely) and allow them to heal the sick and exorcize demons and evil spirits from the earth. This level was not eligible for promotion to earthbound immortality.

Zhìdì jūn (制地君—”Lords Who Control the Earth”): A heavenly decree ordered them to “disperse all subordinate junior demons, whether high or low [in rank], that have cause afflictions and injury owing to blows or offenses against the Motion of the Year, the Original Destiny, Great Year, the Kings of the Soil or the establishing or breaking influences of the chronograms of the tome. Annihilate them all.” This level was also not eligible for promotion to immortality.

These titles were usually given to humans who had either not proven themselves worthy of or were not fated to become immortals. One such famous agent was Fei Changfang, who was eventually murdered by evil spirits because he lost his book of magic talismans. However, some immortals are written to have used this method in order to escape execution. (Campany 2002:52–60)

Ge Hong wrote in his book The Master Who Embraces Simplicity,

The [immortals] Dark Girl and Plain Girl compared sexual activity as the intermingling of fire [yang/male] and water [yin/female], claiming that water and fire can kill people but can also regenerate their life, depending on whether or not they know the correct methods of sexual activity according to their nature. These arts are based on the theory that the more females a man copulates with, the greater benefit he will derive from the act. Men who are ignorant of this art, copulating with only one or two females during their life, will only suffice to bring about their untimely and early death. (Hsi 2001:48)

Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji[edit]

 

 

Hé (和) and Hé (合), the two “Immortals of Harmony and Unity”, associated with happy marriage, depicted in Changchun Temple, a Taoist temple in Wuhan

The Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji (鐘呂傳道集/钟吕传道集 “Anthology of the Transmission of the Dao from Zhong[li Quan] to Lü [Dongbin]“) is associated with Zhongli Quan (2nd century CE?) and Lü Dongbin (9th century CE), two of the legendary Eight Immortals. It is part of the so-called “Zhong-Lü” (鍾呂) textual tradition of internal alchemy (neidan). Komjathy (2004:57) describes it as, “Probably dating from the late Tang (618–906), the text is in question-and-answer format, containing a dialogue between Lü and his teacher Zhongli on aspects of alchemical terminology and methods.”

The Zhong Lü Chuan Dao Ji lists five classes of immortals:

Guǐxiān (鬼仙—”Ghost Immortal”): A person who cultivates too much yin energy. These immortals are likened to Vampires because they drain the life essence of the living, much like the fox spirit. Ghost immortals do not leave the realm of ghosts.

Rénxiān (人仙—Human Immortal”): Humans have an equal balance of yin and yang energies, so they have the potential of becoming either a ghost or immortal. Although they continue to hunger and thirst and require clothing and shelter like a normal human, these immortals do not suffer from aging or sickness. Human immortals do not leave the realm of humans. There are many sub-classes of human immortals, as discussed above under Shījiě xiān.

Dìxiān (地仙—“Earth Immortal”): When the yin is transformed into the pure yang, a true immortal body will emerge that does not need food, drink, clothing or shelter and is not affected by hot or cold temperatures. Earth immortals do not leave the realm of earth. These immortals are forced to stay on earth until they shed their human form.

Shénxiān (神仙—”Spirit Immortal”): The immortal body of the earthbound class will eventually change into vapor through further practice. They have supernatural powers and can take on the shape of any object. These immortals must remain on earth acquiring merit by teaching mankind about the Tao. Spirit immortals do not leave the realm of spirits. Once enough merit is accumulated, they are called to heaven by a celestial decree.

Tiānxiān (天仙—“Celestial Immortal”): Spirit immortals who are summoned to heaven are given the minor office of water realm judge. Over time, they are promoted to oversee the earth realm and finally become administrators of the celestial realm. These immortals have the power to travel back and forth between the earthly and celestial realms.

2). Buddhist motifs

(1 )Motif Eight Budhist Emblem and eight Treasure emblem

Eight Buddhist Emblems:

Originally rooted in Buddhism, in the Ming and Qing dynasties they were often combined with the Eight Precious Objects and the Eight Immortals’ Implements as general auspicious symbols for decorative purposes. They are the Lotus (purity), Wheel of the Law (Buddhist doctrine), Canopy or Parasol (protection and spiritual power), Paired Fish (freedom from restraint), Conch Shell (far-reaching sound of the Buddha’s teaching), Victory Standard (victory of the Buddha’s teachings and victory over all hindrances), Endless Knot (infinite wisdom and compassion of the Buddha), and Vase (elixir of life and container of treasures representing the granting of all wishes).

 

 
Lotus Wheel of Law Canopy or Parasol (protection and spiritual power) Paired Fish
Lotus Wheel of Law Canopy or Parasol Paired Fish
Conch Shell Victory Standard Endless Knot Vase
Conch Shell Victory Standard Endless Knot Vase

 

 

 

Ming Wanli Buddhist emblem motif Kendi

 

Early Ming Bowl  with eight Buddish Emblem from left  mistic knot, canopy symbol, wheel symbol

And Two Fish symbol of wealth

 

 

 

Ming saucer with  Vudhist emblem  and chysanthenum flower motif Canopy Symbols

RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

 

 

Eight Treasures:

 Emblems of success, status and wealth, originating in the implements used in the scholar’s studio, they therefore symbolize success in studies and officialdom. The most common Eight Treasures are double lozenges (victory), the wish-granting pearl, stone chimes (celebration; illustrated), a pair of scrolls (culture), an Artemisia leaf (protection), two books (wisdom), interlocked copper coins (wealth) and a pair of rhinoceros horns (victory). Additional emblems include the coral branch (longevity and official promotion), a silver ingot (wealth) and the wish-granting scepter (ruyi).

       

Double Lozenges

Wish-Granting Pearls

Stone Chimes

Pair of Scrolls

       

Artemisia Leaf

Two Books

Interlocked Copper Coins

Rhinoceros Horns


Double Lozenges Wish-Granting Pearls Stone Chimes Pair of Scrolls
Double Lozenges Wish-Granting Pearls Stone Chimes Pair of Scrolls
Artemisia Leaf Two Books Interlocked Copper Coins Rhinoceros Horns
Artemisia Leaf Two Books Interlocked Copper Coins

 

 

Late ming crane symbol motif and one of eight tresusure symbol  book motif wisdom  plate

(2)Motif Tai Chi

Yin Tang

 

 

 

What is Tai Chi?

Meditation in Motion

Today in the Western world the term “tai chi” has become recognised first and foremost as an exercise to promote health and longevity, usually practiced early in the morning by individuals or groups of middle-aged and elderly people. It is categorised by slow movements grouped into a set of martial forms, performed in what seems to be a meditative state. This is, in fact, a simplistic view of what is really a very complex art, steeped in Chinese history and tradition and encompassing several aspects such as martial arts, medical concepts, Chinese philosophy including Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and applicable not only to individual health and as a method of self-defence, but also to social and moral conduct, business management and marketing, and, importantly, to family cohesion.

The Meaning of Tai Chi

Attempts at translating the words Tai Chi, or Tai Ji (太極), are unlikely to convey the true meaning, and the term has already become commonly used in the Western world. However, an explanation of its history and concepts can perhaps enlighten those who are unfamiliar with the term.

As mentioned, for most Western people, Tai Chi is usually understood as a set of exercises or forms practiced in slow motion to enhance health and maintain youthfulness. It is often written as Tai Chi Chuan, or Tai Ji Quan (太極拳), the last character, chuan, often translated as “fist” and leading to the assumption that Tai Chi Chuan is some form of Chinese Boxing. A more precise understanding would be to take chuan to be a suffix that adds the notion of physical activity.

Tai Chi itself is a term found originally in ancient Chinese philosophy that eventually became associated with an evolving system of principles and exercises aimed at extending the length and quality of life through the study and practice of Nature and its relevance to human life. Later, this was applied to military strategy and martial arts.

The Emperor Sage Fu Hsi, or Fu Xi (伏羲), who lived around 2,400BC, is attributed as the creator of the Tai Chi symbol (see picture) and the Ba Gua (八卦) “eight trigrams” symbols. Fu Hsi studied the cyclical changes of Nature and attempted to arrange knowledge of these cycles into an organised system. The Tai Chi symbol is, as it were, a statement about the reality of Nature, a reality as a continuous flow of cyclic change and blending. The circle represents the fullness of reality, within the circle are the principles of Yin (), represented by the dark area, and Yang (),the light area. These two areas complement each other in shape yet are opposite in shade. Each contains some of the other, as seen in the two small circles. The shape of each area also conveys the notion that each flows into the other.

The Ba Gua symbol (below) consists of eight arrangements of three solid or broken lines, often arranged around the Tai Chi symbol. Each symbol represents the major phases of cycles of Nature: heaven, earth, wind, water, mountain, thunder, fire and lake. These were further expanded, such as the heavenly cycle consisting of sun, moon, star, day, night, morning, evening, wind, thunder, rain and cloud phases; and the earthly cycle consisting of mountain, river, lake, swamp, fire, water, tree, flower and grass phases. These are symbolised by various combinations of the eight trigrams into pairs to form 64 hexagrams. The I Ching, or Yi Jing (易經), known also as The Book of Changes, is a collection of principles used to interpret Nature through the trigrams and hexagrams.

 

 

Tai Chi and Taoism

Taoism (pronounced. Daoism) is an inherently Chinese philosophy primarily characterised in the ancient works of Lao Zi (老子) and Zhuang Zi (莊子). ( It should not be confused with Taoism the religion which was a later development of practices and strange rituals loosely based on Taoist philosophy.)

The Taoist understanding of Tai Chi is derived from the I Ching (pronounced ee jing).

Sometimes translated as ‘the grand ultimate’, it means the never changing, the one, the all. Nothing lies outside of it and nothing contains all of it. Often represented by a dot “.”,

Tai Chi generates the two forces of Yin and Yang. The word Tao, or Dao (), is usually translated as the ‘Way’ or ‘Path’. All Nature is created from the Tao and when the Yin and Yang forces are balanced and in harmony together, this also represents Tao. Everything in existence possesses the complementary elements of Yin and Yang, positive and negative, active and passive, etc. Tai Chi itself is created when Wu Chi (無極), a state of ‘nothingness’, moves. This is really an ancient Chinese perception of the creation of the universe. From nothingness, or non-being, movement begets the beginning of creation, the development of the dual forces of Yin and Yang, that constantly cycle, providing an unending process of creation.

The way of the Tao lies in stillness, Nature responds spontaneously and harmoniously, not deliberately. In application, the natural way of Tai Chi is only to defend oneself with a force much smaller than that used by an opponent. Tai Chi is not intended to injure or cause pain. Only from being relaxed can a Tai Chi practitioner achieve this. The Taoist concept of action without action (無為,無不為) or from a state of nothingness, one can react, epitomises the importance of Taoist philosophy in the application of Tai Chi. This is also expressed by how the Tai Chi practitioner can obtain good health through relaxation, balance, proper breathing and good posture

 Fr Iwan Chinese Imperial Tai Chi motif ceramic(will upload later)

Compare with Literatures

 

Jiajing jar with floral scrolls and Taoist 8 diagrams

Yin Yang Motif ceramic

The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork found In Indonesia ( continiu )

THE ART MOTIF OF CHINA IMPERIAL CERAMIC FOUND IN INDONESIA

PART THREE

PART III. STUDIES RESULTS

 

By

Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

Private Limited E-Book In CD-Rom Edition

Special For Senior Reseacher And Collectors

Copyright @ 2013

THIS THE SAMPLE OF Dr Iwan Limited E-Book In CD-Rom with unedited non complete info illustration, the complete CD-Rom exist but only for premium member please subscribe via comment with your email address and private information same as  your ID-Card

 

Driwancybermuseum Homeoffice  

 

RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

RELIGIOUS MOTIVES

3)Motif Holy Mother Kwan Yin(im)

 

Yuan Kwan Yin(im) figure Statue

4 ) Holy  Tao  Ancetors  and Buddish Figure  Motif

 

Tao God

Taoist Deities / Gods  
The Three Pure Ones ( 三 清 )The Jade Emperor (玉 皇 大 帝, Yu Huang Da Di)

Avalokitesvara – The Ones Who Regards The World Sounds ( 觀 世 音 菩 薩, Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa )

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE THE UNIVERSAL DOOR OF GUANSHI YIN BODHISATTVA  (THE BODHISATTVA WHO CONTEMPLATES THE SOUNDS OF THE WORLD)

Jiang Tai Gong, ( Jiang Tai Gong, 姜 太 公 )

Taoist Master Zhang, ( Zhang Tian Shi, 張 天 師)

The Queen of Heaven (天 后 聖 母, Tian Hou Sheng Mu)

The Supreme Lord of the Dark Heaven ( 玄 天 上 帝, Xuan Tian Shang Ti ) 

Imperial Sovereign Wen Chang ( 文 昌 帝 君, Wen Chang Di Jun )

The Door Gods ( 門 神, Men Shen )

The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven (九 天 玄 女, Jiu Tian Xuan Nu )

The Great Spirits of The Earth (福 德 正 神, Fu De Zheng Shen)

The Thunder God ( 雷 公, Lei Gong )

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva ( Di Zang Wang Pu Sa, 地 藏 王 普 薩 )

Liu Ren Xian Shi (六壬仙師 )

Lord Guan Ti ( 關 帝 聖 君 )

Goddess of the Northern Star ( Dou Mu Yuan Jun, 斗 母 元 君 ) 

The Eight Immortals

The Chief of the Eight Immortals, 鐘离權

Zhang GuoLao, 張果老

Lu Dong Bin, 呂洞

Cao Guo Jiu, 曹國舅

Li TieGuai, 李铁拐

Han  XiangZi, 韓湘子

Lan Caihe, 藍采和

He Xian Gu, 何仙姑

Er Lang Shen, 二郎神

The Three Pure Ones ( 三 清 )

                       

The Three Pure Ones are the highest Deities in Taoism. “The Three Pure Ones” transcend the entire hierarchy of Taoist deities. In the middle is the ultimate highest deity of Taoism, the Primordial Heavenly Worthy. To your right is the Spiritual Treasure Heavenly Worthy, and to your left is the Supreme Way Heavenly Worthy.  

“The Three Pure Ones” is the avatar of Taoism. AVATAR is a word that is commonly heard but rarely understood. In English, the word has come to mean “an embodiment, a bodily manifestation of the Divine.” The void or great emptiness in the beginning, is called “Wu Chi”, or primordial chaos, at this state the Tao is a disperse form or “Chi” when reunited it is transformed into a divine being. This divine being is Tai Shang Lao Zun or Supreme Patriarch Lao Zi.
He then transforms the “One” which is Primordial Heavenly Worthy or Reverend Yuan Shi of Yu Qing. He holds a flaming divine pearl which represent the creation of the Universe, however at this stage the Universe is in a chaotic stage.

Eventually later he forms another divine being, Spiritual Heavenly Worthy or Reverend Ling Bao of Shang Qing. At this point of time there are two forces called the “Yin” and “Yang” represented as “Tai Chi” myriads things can be formed by these forces. Therefore Spiritual Heavenly Worthy or Reverend Ling Bao of Shang Qing holds a “Ru Yi”, a wish fulfilling ornament.
Finally when all things are created Tai Shang Lao Zun descend and sits on the right, he holds a mystical fan, symbolizing the completion of the Universe, and the way of Tao can be spread, and living beings can seek salvation.  

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The Jade Emperor (玉 皇 大 帝, Yu Huang Da Di)

The Jade Emperor is the supreme ruler of Heavens, the hades and the protector of mankind according to Chinese folklore religion and the highest ranking deity of the Taoist pantheon.

From the ninth century onwards, he was the patron deity of the Chinese imperial family. The Jade Emperor presides over Heaven and Earth just as the earthly emperors once ruled over China.

Based on one account the Jade Emperor was originally the crown prince of the kingdom of Majestic Heavenly Lights and Ornaments. At birth he emitted a bright light that filled the entire kingdom. When he was young, he was benevolent, intelligent and wise. He devoted his entire childhood to helping the needy (the poor and suffering, the deserted and single, the hungry and disabled). Furthermore, he showed respect and benevolence to both men and creatures. After his father died, he ascended the throne. He made sure that everyone in his kingdom found peace and contentment, after that he told his ministers that he wished to cultivate Dao in a mountain cave and cultivate. After 1,750 trials, each trial lasting for 120,976 years, he attained Immortality. After another a hundred million years of cultivation, he finally became the Jade Emperor.

The Jade Emperor is usually depicted seated on a throne in imperial robes, his flat-topped crown embedded with strings of pearls that dangle from the front. He holds a short, flat tablet in clasped in both hands before his chest.
He looks very majestic with his flowing beard.

His birthday is celebrated on the ninth day of the Lunar New Year commonly known as “Tian Gong Dan” (天 公 誕 Festival of the Heavenly God). It is an important festival to the Taoists and Chinese community. Taoist temples throughout the world held gathering and prayers together to worship him. To beseech him to grant peace, prosperity, protection from calamities for the entire year, favorable weather conditions, and abundant harvest.   

Most people are not aware that the Jade Emperor is the protector of the Buddha dharma in Buddhism. He’s called Lord Sakra or Indra or in the Shurangama Mantra (楞 嚴 咒) his name is recited as “Namo Yin Two La Ye” (南 無 因 陀 羅 耶).

According to Buddhist text he resides in “Trayastrimsa Heaven” as in Sanksrit and means “Heaven of the Thirty-three’. The Lord of the Heaven of the Thirty-three resides above our heads. There are eight heavens in the east, eight in the west, eight in the north, and eight in the south, making thirty-two; the thirty-third is located in the center of the others and is at the peak of Mount Sumeru.

‘Trayastrimsa, “Heaven of the Thirty-Three”, is not thirty-third in a vertical arrangement of heavens. Vertically it occupies the second position among eighteen heavens. Its name is taken from the fact that it is the central one among a group of heavens located on the same plane, with eight heavens on each of its four sides.

The lord of the central heaven, the thirty-third, is named Sakra or Indra, and in Buddhism he is a protector of the Buddha’s Dharma.
The Heaven of the Thirty-Three is eighty thousand yojanas high, and its city, the City of Good View, is made of the seven precious materials and is sixty thousand yojanas high. In the center of that city is Sakra’s palace, which is made of the most exquisite and valuable gems.

In the past at the time of Kashyapa Buddha, Sakra was a very ordinary and a poor woman who saw a temple in ruins and vowed to restore it. Soliciting friends and relatives, she gradually gathered a group of thirty-two women. She herself was the thirty-third. Each of the thirty-three gave as much support as she could muster and with their collective effort they repaired the ruined temple. When each one died she ascended to the heavens and became ruler of her own heaven. The heaven in which Sakra, the former leader of the women, lives, is called the Trayastrimsa Heaven….

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Avalokitesvara – The Ones Who Regards The World Sounds
( 觀 世 音 菩 薩, Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa )

 

                                           Avalokitesvara

There are numerous tales about Guan Yin one of it possibly Taoist in origin, describes Guan Yin as the daughter of King Miao Chung. He and his wife were childless and as his age was nearing fifty it was a matter of great concern for him that he leaves an heir to his throne. Sacrifices and prayers were offered to the gods and eventually answered. His queen gave birth in three consecutive years to three daughters namely; Miao Ssu, Miao Yin and Miao Shan.

As there was no son the king decided to settle the heir to the throne by marrying his daughters to men of ability and the one whom is worthy and would succeed him. The two elder daughters were married but the youngest daughter Miao Shan refused. As she devotes herself to attain enlightenment.

She persuaded his father to allow her to retire to a nunnery for her cultivation. She was given the toughest and the most menial jobs on the King’s order to discourage her cultivating. Despite undergoing all these hardship she patiently overcome it with persistence, her compassion moves heaven. Even gods and animals conspired to help her. Eventually, when the king found out he was furious and ordered the nunnery to be burned. Miao Shan with the Heaven’s help extinguished the fire, with a heavy storm. She was later executed and her soul descends into Hell which was soon transformed into paradise. An edict was sent up to Heaven saying ”There must be justice both in Heaven and Hell, if you do not send this saint back to earth there will no longer be a Hell but only a Heaven”

After resurrecting her she was transported by Amitabha Buddha (Buddha of the Western Paradise) to the island, of Pu To Mountain (near Ningpo in CheJiang Province) where she spent nine years perfecting herself.

She started helping these in distress, curing people of their diseases, bestowing sons to these barren, rescuing these shipwreck victims and other acts of benevolence.

The legend says that due to the bad karma created by the King he was eventually struck with an incurable illness which could only be cured by the hand and the eye of the “Never angry one”. Guan Yin volunteered to give her hand and eyes to help her father. These parts immediately effected a cure. The King then discovered that he owed his daughter his life, full of remorse he left his kingdom to his chief minister and become a convert to Buddhism.

This legend is one of the many variations, collectively they are known as Miao Shan legends.

Based on a Buddhist account Guan Yin origin is a male deity called Avalokitesvara. He is an enlighten Buddha called “Right Dharma Thus Come One”                      ( 正 法 明 如 來 佛 ). Because of his Great Compassion he had manifest as a Bodhisattva to save all living beings.

According to the Chapter 25; The Universal Door of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, he can manifest in numerous forms to help and convert living beings, he is the embodiment of the Buddha’s Compassion. His compassionate decision is to vow to stay a bodhisattva instead of becoming a buddha, because bodhisattvas can more effectively help other beings become enlightened.

Because of his compassion, Avalokitesvara has vowed not to become a buddha and enter into nirvana until after all sentient beings are saved from the nearly endless round of suffering in samsara.  Instead, he has committed to continued existence so that he can help suffering beings.  Avalokitesvara is not the only bodhisattva who has made this vow.   However, he embodies the compassionate motivation which led all bodhisattvas to the vow.  Thus, valuing the bodhisattva vow leads to valuing Avalokitesvara and everything he signifies. 

 

AVALOKITESVARA PROTECTS AGAINST THE EIGHT FEARS

 

  1. Saved from fire

  2. Saved from wind or storm

  3. Saved from attack of snakes or bandits

  4. Saved from attack of tigers

  5. Saved from attack of elephant or captivity

  6. Saved from attack of evil spirits or demons

  7. Saved from drowning

  8. Saved from falling off a cliff

     

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CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE
THE UNIVERSAL DOOR OF GUANSHI YIN BODHISATTVA
(THE BODHISATTVA WHO CONTEMPLATES THE SOUNDS OF THE WORLD)

AT THAT TIME Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, placed his palms together, and facing the Buddha, said, “World Honored One, for what reason is the Bodhisattva Guanshiyin called ‘Guanshiyin’?”
The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, “Good man, if any of the limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of living beings who are undergoing all kinds of suffering hear of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and recite his name single-mindedly, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will immediately hear their voices and rescue them.
“If a person who upholds the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva enters a great fire, the fire will not burn him, all because of this Bodliisattva’s awesome spiritual power.
“If a person being tossed about in the great sea calls out the Bodhisattva’s name, he will find a shallow place.
“If the hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of beings who seek gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, carnelian, coral, amber, pearls, and so forth enter the great sea, an evil wind may toss their boats into the territory of the rakshasa ghosts. But if among them there is even one person who calls out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will all be saved from the difficulty of the rakshasas. For this reason, he is called Guanshiyin.
“Further, if a person who is about to be harmed calls out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, the knives and staves of the attackers will break into pieces and he will be saved.
“If yakshas and rakshasas enough to fill the three thousand great thousand world system come to torment a person, if they hear him call out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, all those evil ghosts will not even be able to stare at that person with their evil eyes, how much the less harm him.
“If a person, whether guilty or not, who has been put in stocks or bound with chains calls out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, his fetters will break apart and he will immediately be freed.

“If bandits enough to fill the three thousand great thousand world system infest a dangerous road on which a merchant chief in charge of costly jewels is leading a group of merchants, but among the merchants there is even a single person who says, ‘Good men, do not be afraid! You should all single-mindedly recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. This Bodhisattva bestows fearlessness upon living beings. If you recite his name, you shall surely be saved from these robbers,’ and if upon hearing that, the merchants all cry out together, ‘Namo Guanshiyin Bodhisattva,’ then they will immediately be saved because they recited his name.
“Inexhaustible Intention! The awesome spiritual power of the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Guanshiyin is as lofty and sublime as that!
“If living beings who have much sexual desire constantly and reverently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be separated from desire.
“If those who have much hatred constantly and reverently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be separated from hatred.
“If those who are very stupid constantly and reverently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be separated from stupidity.
“Inexhaustible Intention, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has great awesome spiritual powers such as these and confers great benefits. Therefore living beings should always be mindful of him.
“If women who seek sons bow and make offerings to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will give birth to blessed, virtuous, and wise sons. If they seek daughters, they will give birth to upright and handsome daughters who have planted roots of virtue in previous lives and who are regarded and respected by all.
“Inexhaustible Intention! Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has powers such as these. If there are living beings who reverently bow to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be blessed and their efforts will not be in vain.
“Therefore living beings should all receive and uphold the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva.

“Inexhaustible Intention! If a person were to receive and uphold the names of Bodhisattvas in number as the grains of sand in sixty-two kotis of Ganges Rivers, and in addition were to exhaustively make offerings to them of food, drink, clothing, bedding, and medicine, what do you think—would that good man’s or good woman’s merit and virtue be great or not?”

 
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva replied, “Very great, World Honored One.”
The Buddha said, “If another person were to receive and uphold the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and bow and make offerings but once, that person’s blessings would be equal to and not different from the other person’s. They could not be exhausted in hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of eons.
“Inexhaustible Intention, one who receives and upholds the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva obtains the benefit of blessings and virtues as limitless and boundless as those.”
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, how does Guanshiyin Bodhisattva roam through this Saha world? How does he speak the Dharma for living beings? How does he carry out this work with the power of expedients?”
The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, “Good man, if living beings in this land must be saved by means of someone in the body of a Buddha, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will manifest it the body of a Buddha and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Pratyekabuddha, he will manifest in the body of a Pratyekabuddha and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Hearer, he will manifest in the body of a Hearer and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the Brahma King, he will manifest in the body of the Brahma King and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of Shakra, he will manifest in the body of Shakra and speak Dharma for them.
“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a great heavenly general, he will manifest in the body of a great heavenly general and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of Vaishravana, he will manifest in the body of Vaishravana and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minor king, he will manifest in the body of a minor king and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of an Elder, he will manifest in the body of an Elder and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a layman, he will manifest in the body of a layman and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minister of state, he will manifest in the body of a minister of state and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Brahman, he will manifest in the body of a Brahman and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika, he will manifest in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of the wife of an Elder, of a layman, of a minister of state, or of a Brahman, he will manifest in a wife’s body and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a pure youth or a pure maiden, he will manifest in the body of a pure youth or pure maiden and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a heavenly dragon, yaksha, gandharva, asura, garuda, kinnara, mahoraga, human, or nonhuman, and so forth, he will manifest in such a body and speak Dharma for them.

“If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Vajra-wielding spirit, he will manifest in the body of a Vajra-wielding spirit and speak Dharma for them.

“Inexhaustible Intention! Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has accomplished merit and virtue such as this and, in all manner of forms, roams throughout the land, saving and liberating living beings.

“Therefore you should all single-mindedly make offerings to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva Mahasattva can, in the midst of fear, crisis, and hardship, bestow fearlessness. That is why in this Saha world all call him the “Bestower of Fearlessness.”

Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I shall now make an offering to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva.” He then removed his necklace of pearls, its value in the hundreds of thousands of ounces of gold, and offered it to the Bodhisattva, saying, “Humane One, accept this Dharma offering, this necklace of precious pearls.”

Guanshiyin Bodhisattva refused to accept it.
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva again said to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, “Humane One, out of pity for us, accept this necklace.”
The Buddha then told Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, “You should take pity on Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva and the fourfold assembly, as well as the gods, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, nonhumans, and so forth, and accept this necklace.”
Then, out of pity for the fourfold assembly, the gods, dragons, humans, nonhumans, and so forth, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva accepted the necklace. He divided it into two parts: one part he offered to Shakyamuni Buddha and the other to the stupa of Many Jewels Buddha.
“Inexhaustible Intention, such is the self-mastery and spiritual power of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, who roams throughout the Saha world.”
At that time, Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva used verses to ask this question:

World Honored One, complete with wondrous marks,
I now ask again,
Why is this disciple of the Buddha Called Guanshiyin?

The Honored One of Perfect, Wondrous Marks,
With verses answered Inexhaustible Intention:
Listen to the practice of Guanyin,
Who skillfully responds in all places.

With vast vows, as deep as the sea,
Throughout inconceivable eons,
He has served many thousands of
kotis of Buddhas,
And has made great, pure vows.

I shall now tell you in brief,
That for those who hear his name or see him,
And who are mindful of his name unceasingly,
He can extinguish the suffering of all realms of existence.

If someone is the victim of another’s harmful intent,
And is pushed into a pit of fire,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The pit of fire will turn into a pool.
If someone is being tossed about in the great sea,
And is surrounded by the dangers of dragons, fish, and ghosts,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The waves will not drown him.

If someone is on the peak of Mount Sumeru,
And another person tries to push him off,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
He will stand firm as the sun in space.

If someone is pursued by evil people,
Who want to throw him off a VajraMountain,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
Not a single hair on his body will be harmed.

If someone is surrounded by vicious bandits,
Who threaten him with knives,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The bandits will all give rise to compassion.

If someone is in trouble with the law,
And on the verge of being executed,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The knives will break into pieces.

If someone is imprisoned, shackled, or chained,
Or if his hands and feet are in stocks,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
His bonds will open and he will be free.

If someone is about to be harmed, By mantras, spells, or poison,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The harm will all return to the sender.

If someone meets with evil rakshasas,
Poisonous dragons, or ghosts,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
They will then not dare to harm him.

If someone is surrounded by vicious beasts,
With fearsome fangs and claws,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The beasts will quickly run far away.

Poisonous snakes and scorpions,
Have blazing lethal vapors,
But if one evokes the strength of Guanyin,
At the sound of one’s voice, they will disperse.

Clouds of roaring thunder and lightning
May send down hail or great floods of rain,
But if one evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The clouds will immediately scatter.

Living beings are beset with hardships,
And oppressed by limitless sufferings.
The power of Guanyin’s wondrous wisdom
Can rescue the world from suffering.

Complete with the power of spiritual penetrations,
Vastly cultivating wisdom and expedient means,
Going throughout countries in the ten directions,
He manifests everywhere in all places.

The various evil destinies,
Those of the hells, ghosts, and animals,
And the pain of birth, old age, sickness, and death
Are all gradually wiped away.

True Contemplator, Pure Contemplator,
Contemplator with Vast, Great Wisdom,
Compassionate Contemplator, Kind Contemplator,
May we constantly behold you with reverence!

Undefiled pure light,
The sun of wisdom that breaks through the darkness
Is able to quell calamities of wind and fire
As it shines on all worlds.

Compassionate substance: the thunder of precepts.
Kind intent: a wondrous great cloud.
He rains down sweet dew and Dharma rain,
Which extinguish the flames of affliction.

In the midst of contention, when faced with lawsuits,
Or when someone is terrified on the battlefield,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
All his many enemies will scatter and leave.
Wondrous your sound, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds
A pure sound, a sound like the sea tide,
A sound beyond all worldly sounds,
We shall always bear it in mind.

In thought after thought we have no doubt:
Guanshiyin is pure and sagely.
In times of suffering, agony, danger, and death,
He is our refuge and protector.

Complete with all merit and virtue,
His kind eyes watching living beings,
He is endowed with massive blessings, limitless as the sea.
Therefore we should reverently worship him.

At that time the Bodhisattva Guardian of the Earth rose from his seat and said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, if there are those who hear this chapter of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, who learn about the self-mastery of his deeds and the power of his spiritual penetrations as shown in this Universal Door, you should know that the merit and virtue of such people will not be small.”

When the Buddha had spoken the “Universal Door Chapter,” eighty-four thousand living beings in the assembly all brought forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Today there are three celebrations observed by both Taoist and Buddhist that her birthday was on the nineteenth day of the second lunar month, the date of her achievement of immortality was the nineteenth day of the sixth lunar month and date of her attaining enlightenment (Nirvana) was the nineteenth day of the ninth lunar month.   

 

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Jiang Tai Gong, ( Jiang Tai Gong, 姜 太 公 )

The God in Charge of Granting Titles to Gods

 

Life History of Real Jiang Taigong

Jiang Taigong, native of Donghai in Zhou Dynasty, was said to be a descendant of Emperor Yandi of remote ages. One of his forefathers had been a holding high position during the reign of Emperor Shun. Later, because of his achievement in helping Yu the Great to harness rivers, he was granted the fief of Lu (west of today’s Nanyang City in Henan Province) and addressed as Marquis of Lu. Jiang Taigong was also called Lu Shang or Lu Wang. To show him respect, later generations called him Jiang Ziya. In ancient times “zi” was an honorific title for men.

King Wen way on the journey to seek talents and met Jiang ZIya by chance. Jiang Ziya was a learned man and always wanted an opportunity to put his talents into practice. However under the reign of King Zhou, the last ruler of Shang Dynasty, he was unable to serve him as King Zhou was a tyrant.

Most of his life was spent in obscurity and poverty. He only was able to use his abilities when he was seventy years old. Jiang had heard that King Wen, chief of Zhou clan in the late Shang dynasty, was amiable and easy to approach, respecting the elder and loving children, placing those able and virtuous people in important positions. Thus Jiang moved to Wenshui. Building a hut near Panxi, he made a living by fishing, while waiting for the important post to be conferred by King Wen that would enable him to use his wisdom in assisting King Wen. Despite waiting for the wise ruler for a long time, Jiang hair turned grey and his hope seems futile.  However as destined one day he heard the sound of horses and people’s voices coming from afar. A delicate featured man dressed up as a King approached him. When told the distinguished visitor was the King Wen of Zhou, who was eagerly seeking talents, he felt very happy and finally was appointed the Prime Minister!

He carried out political and military reforms. Domestically, he emphasizes on developing production; externally, he deployed forces to conquer small neighboring clans to expand territories and weaken the Shang Dynasty.  
With his assistance King Wen defeated Quanrong, conquered Shang Dynasty’s Chongguo, and moved the capital from Qishan to Fengcheng. The territory of Zhou gradually increase and stretched from Mi (today’s Lingtai in Gansu Province) in the west of Yu (Around todays Qinyang County in Henan Province) in the east. Then Zhou territory further expanded to the valley of Yangtze, Hanshui and Rushui rivers. Its political, economic and military strength greatly surpassed the Shang Dynasty, paving the way for the founding of the Zhou Dynasty.

Unfortunately, King Wen died before he fulfilled his ambition of overthrowing the Shang. His son Ji Fa, historically known as King Wu, succeeded to the throne.    
With the assistance of Jiang, he sent troops to fight King Zhou of Shang, and carried out his father’s plan to establish the Zhou Dynasty. The regime is called Western Zhou in history. Due to his merits in overthrowing the Shang Dynasty, Jiang was granted the area of Qi (the central and eastern parts of today’s Shandong Province) as his fief, and regarded as the founder of Qi.

Jiang Taigong in Legend 

There are numerous legend about Jiang Taigong. One account said that his parents died when he was a child and he followed his aunt to Zhaoge, the capital of Shang. At the age of twelve he started working as a butcher because his aunt’s  family needed his help. But he failed at his job and wandered away from Zhaoge, until he met King Wen and found success.

One legend said Jiang fished for three days and three nights without catching anything. Later someone taught him the way of angling. Following the advice, Jiang finally caught a carp. Upon opening it’s belly, he found a cloth roll with characters reading “Lu Wang (namely Jiang Taigong) will be granted the area of Qi as his fief”.

Based on another legend King Wen dreamed of the Heavenly Emperor calling him “Chang (King Wen was named Ji Chang), I am going to grant you a good mentor and assistant. His name is Wang”. He then saw Jiang taigong beside the Heavenly Emperor. It was the same night Jiang Taigong had the same dream. Soon afterwards when meeting Jiang, King Wen asked. “Is Wang your name?”
“Yes,” replied Jiang, smiling. “It seems that I had seen you somewhere,” said King Wen. After Jiang told him the exact date he had the same dream with King Wen, he took Jiang and offered him an important position.

This legend is the most popular among all. Jiang Taigong was originally a famous general of King Wen and a respected figure. He was even believed ton have become a supernatural being. So anyone who wants to drive evil spirits out of his house would put on the wall a poster with characters reading. “Jiang Taigong is here. All evil spirits keep off.”

Jiang Taigong is depicted as an elderly man with white beard and hair, dressed up in imperial robe, one hand holding a flag (flag denotes his power to control or dispatch armies) and the other hand holds a sword.

Jiang Taigong famous quote, ”Jiang Taigong is here. Other gods withdraw and keep off”. Thus declared Jiang Taigong at a platform after he granted titles to other gods. “Since I had offered a title to them, I should at least place myself above them”, he declared.

From then onwards, when people were building a new house, they would paste up a banner reading “Jiang Taigong is here, hundred affairs are not forbidden as taboo”, (姜太公在此, 百事無禁忌) this would prevent evil spirits from occupying the building.

 

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Taoist Master Zhang, ( Zhang Tian Shi, 張 天 師)

 

Master Zhang, whose full name was Zhang Ling, or Zhang DaoLing (34-156), was the founder of the Five Pecks of Rice Sect of Taoism during the Eastern Han Dynasty.  A native of Fengxian County, Jiangsu Province, he studied in the Imperial College and well versed in the Five Classics. He practiced meditation in Heming Mountain in today’s Dayi County, Sichuan Province in the reign of Emperor Shundi (r.125-144). In 141, he wrote twenty-four Taoist texts and institutionalized Taoism, which was called the Five Pecks of Rice Sect, calling himself Occult Master of Great Purity. Its believers had to pay five pecks of rice as contribution to support his institution. It emphasized repenting one’s mistakes and have faith in Taoists canons. It propagated its doctrine by praying and drawing charms, and gave treatment with blessed holy water or incantations.

Legends of Master Zhang

Many legends are told about him. One said that Zhang DaoLing was the eight descendants of Zhang Liang, a high official of the Han Dynasty, he was a tall man, with extraordinary appearance characterized by full forehead, red hair, green eyes, straight nose and square mouth, bushy eyebrows and big ears. All this features, plus his beard, gave the impression that he looked like an immortal priest. In the tenth year of the Jianwu period under the reign of the Emperor Guangwu of the Eastern Han Dynasty, he was born in the Tianmu Mountain.

Before he was born his mother dreamed about a tall immortal wearing a gold crown and embroidered robe descending from the Big Dipper to her room. He gave her a scented plant, and suddenly vanished. She awakened to find her quilt, clothes and the entire room was lingered with an extraordinary fragrance that last for a month. Then she became pregnant. On the day when she was in labour, the courtyards was permeated in colored clouds, and the room was bright with red beams. The fragrance again fills the air. Daoling was able to walk as soon as he was born.

He was extremely intelligent as he had knowledge and can memorize the entire Dao De Jing, astronomy, geography and mystic diagrams at the age of seven. He passed the second degree Imperial examination, as became the magistrate of Jingzhou. Albeit an official he was determined to practice meditation. Before long he tender his resignation and lived in seclusion in Beimang Mountain. It was said that one day a white tiger bought scriptures in it’s mouth to him. Emperor He Di appointed him as Imperial tutor to the crown prince, and conferred on him the title Marquis of Jixian. He was invited to take up the official position, three times, but he always refused. In A.D. 90, he went to Long He Mountain in Jiangxi Province where he tried alchemy – to make pills of Immortality and delivered sermons for about thirty years, his disciples totaling more than three thousand.   

Master Zhang was well known for curing people with Talismans, blessed holy water, and delivered people from danger and disaster.

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The Queen of Heaven (天 后 聖 母, Tian Hou Sheng Mu)

The Queen of Heaven is also known Ma Zu. Originally named Lin Muo Niang; was born in 960 AD, on the 23rd day of the 3rd month in the Song Dynasty. She was born in a village along PuTian, Fujian’s Province.

Based on the book “Gods of Ancient China”, the day she was born, the land was covered by a purple streak, perfumed scent filled every household, and a golden halo appeared above the Lin house, within which emitted a red glow. One month after her birth she had not cried. So her parents called her Lin Muo Niang (Muo is the Chinese character meaning silence).

She was very filial to her parents, intelligent and loved to help people in adversity. She was a good swimmer and had gone fishing since childhood with her elder brother. She often rowed a boat during a vicious storm to save people in distress at the risk of her life. Her heroic deeds gained attention far and wide.

Ten centuries ago on a stormy day she came to aid an overturned merchant ship. She managed to rescue only nine of the ten people on board. The one left was tossed away by a huge wave. Disregarding her own safety, she swam and managed to save the last victim, however she herself drowned due to exhaustion.

Reluctant to accept that she had died, people preferred to assume that she had become a goddess. According to the legend, somebody saw the Goddess in imperial garments soared to the Heavens. To commemorate her people of Pu Tian, her hometown, built a temple dedicated to her.

After her death, the Goddess was said to become more miraculous. On one occasion, a violent storm was raging over the seas and overturned a few fishing boats. All the fishermen fell into the sea. At that moment a streak of light was seen among the dark clouds, the Goddess was seen descending from Heaven, she then miraculously set all the overturned boats and pulled the fishermen into the boats. And then suddenly the wind subsided, the waves calmed down and the sky cleared. All the people were saved.

Emperor of various dynasties glamorized the Goddess. During a period of eight hundred years, on forty occasions they granted her titles which, when placed together, ran to sixty Chinese characters, including “State Protecting Sage”, “Protector of the State and People” and “Goddess of Heaven”.    

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The Supreme Lord of the Dark Heaven

( 玄 天 上 帝, Xuan Tian Shang Ti )   

 

Xuan Tian Shang Ti, was originally a butcher, he had killed a lot as days passed he felt remorse for his sins and repents by giving up butchery and retired to a remote mountain for cultivation of the Tao. One day while he was assisting a woman in labor, while cleaning the woman’s blood stained clothes along a river, the words “Xuan Tian Shang Di” (玄 天 上 帝) appeared before him. The woman in labor turns out to be Guan Yin manifestation. To redeem his sins, he dug out his own stomach and intestines and washes it in the river. The river turns into dark murky water then after a while it changes the water into clear pure water.
Unfortunately he loses the stomach and intestines while he was washing it in the river. The Jade Emperor was moved by his sincerity and determination to clear his sins; hence he became an Immortal known as “Xuan Tian Shang Ti”.

After he becomes an immortal his stomach and intestines after absorbing the world essences it was transformed into a demonic turtle and snake harming people. No one could subdue them. Eventually Xuan Tian Shang Ti returns back to earth to subdue them and use them as his transportation or disciples.

Xuan Tian Shang Ti is portrayed as a warrior in imperial robes, the left hand holds the “three mountain mudra” while the right hand holds a prominent sword. He is usually seated on a throne with the right stepping on the snake and left leg extended stepping on the turtle. His face is red with long flowing black beards, looks very stern with bulging pair of eyes. His birthday is celebrated on the third day of third lunar month.

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Imperial Sovereign Wen Chang

( 文 昌 帝 君, Wen Chang Di Jun )

                                                   

The popular Chinese Taoist god of literature and writing, invoked by scholars to assists them in their works. He is especially venerated by people who require help with their entrance examinations for an official career.
In reality, Wen-chang is a constellation of six stars in the vicinity of the Great Bear. It is said that when these stars are bright, literature flourishes. He visits the Earth frequently in human shape. Taoists texts mention seventeen separate existences of the stellar deity on Earth
 

In addition to the ancestors of whose worship it really consists, Taoism has in its pantheon the specialized gods worshipped by the scholars. The chief of these is Wen Chang, the God of Literature. The account of him (which varies in several particulars in different Chinese works) relates that he was a man by the name of Chang Ya, who was born during the T’ang dynasty in the kingdom of Yeh (now known as ZheJiang Province), and went to live at Tzŭ T’ung in Szechuan, where his intelligence raised him to the position of President of the Board of Ceremonies. Another account refers to him as Chang Ya Tzŭ, the Soul or Spirit of Tzŭ T’ung, and states that he held office in the Chin dynasty (A.D. 265–316), and was killed in a fight. Another again states that under the Sung dynasty (A.D. Page 105960–1280), in the third year (A.D. 1000) of the reign-period Hsien P’ing of the Emperor Chun Tsung, he repressed the revolt of Wang Chun at Ch’ing Tu in Szechuan. General Lei Yu-chung caused to be shot into the besieged town arrows to which notices were attached inviting the inhabitants to surrender. Suddenly a man mounted a ladder, and pointing to the rebels cried in a loud voice: “The Spirit of Tzŭ T’ung has sent me to inform you that the town will fall into the hands of the enemy on the twentieth day of the ninth moon, and not a single person will escape death.” Attempts to strike down this prophet of evil were in vain, for he had already disappeared. The town was captured on the day indicated. The general, as a reward, caused the temple of Tzŭ T’ung’s Spirit to be repaired, and sacrifices offered to it.
 

The object of worship nowadays in the temples dedicated to Wen Chang is Tzŭ T’ung Ti Chun, the God of Tzŭ T’ung. Various emperors at various times bestowed upon Wen Chang honorific titles, until ultimately, in the Yuan, or Mongol, dynasty, in the reign Yen Yu, in A.D. 1314, the title was conferred on him of Supporter of the Yuan Dynasty, Diffuser of Renovating Influences, Ssŭ-lu of Wen Chang, God and Lord. He was thus apotheosized, and took his place among the gods of China.
 

Thus the God of Literature, Wen Chang Di Jun, duly installed in the Chinese pantheon, and sacrifices were offered to him in the temples dedicated to him. But scholars, especially those about to enter for the public competitive examinations, worshipped as the God of Literature, or as his palace or abode (Wen Chang), the star K’uei in the Great Bear, or Dipper, or Bushel—the latter name derived from its resemblance in shape to the measure used by the Chinese and called tou. The term K’uei was more generally applied to the four stars forming the body or square part of the Dipper, the three forming the tail or handle being called Shao or Piao. How all this came about is the next story.
 

A scholar, as famous for his literary skill as his facial deformities, had been admitted as first academician at the metropolitan examinations. It was the custom that the Emperor should give with his own hand a rose of gold to the fortunate candidate. This scholar, whose name was Chung K’uei, presented himself according to custom to receive the reward which was rightfully due to him. At the sight of his repulsive face the Emperor refused the golden rose. In despair the miserable rejected one went and threw himself into the sea. At the moment when he was being choked by the waters a mysterious fish or monster called ao raised him on its back and brought him to the surface. K’uei ascended to Heaven and became arbiter of the destinies of men of letters. His abode was said to be the star K’uei, a name given by the Chinese to the sixteen stars of the constellation or ‘mansion’ of Andromeda and Pisces. The scholars quite soon began to worship K’uei as the God of Literature, and to represent it on a column in the temples. Then sacrifices were offered to it. This star or constellation was regarded as the palace of the god. The legend gave rise to an expression frequently used in Chinese of one who comes out first in an examination, namely, tu chan ao, “to stand alone on the sea-monster’s head.” It is especially to be noted that though the two K’ue’s have the same sound they are represented by different characters, and that the two constellations are not the same, but are situated in widely different parts of the heavens.
 

Images of Wen Chang portray him as an official or as a scholar. He is always seen holding an auspicious scepter “Ru Yi” or a register book. Usually accompanied by his two faithful attendants, namely Tien Lung (Deaf Celestial) and Di Ya (Mute Terrestial). His birthday is celebrated on the third day of second lunar month.   

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The Door Gods ( 門 神, Men Shen )

 

The Door gods are the earliest gods worshipped by the Chinese. They are regarded as the Spiritual Guardians of the Entrance. An altar is usually placed besides the entrance, where offerings are given daily.  
According to the legend the Door gods were formerly imperial generals, Qin Shu Bao and Wei Chi Gong. They were both assigned to protect Emperor Tai Zong ( 太 宗 皇 帝 ) , from ghosts and demons during the Tang dynasty.  It was believed that the Emperor had nightmares whenever he sleeps during the night. He would always be pursuit by ghosts or demons in his dream, it could be his karma manifesting to him as he had killed numerous people before he was enthroned as the Emperor. His siblings were also killed.

Whenever the two generals stood guard outside his room entrance, he would be able to sleep soundly without any nightmares. It was believed that ghosts and demons dare not enter the emperor’s room whenever the two generals are present.

As the two generals are mortals, the Emperor Tai Zhong feared that the generals would suffer from fatigue having to keep watch over him every night. Hence, he ordered portraits of the imperial generals to be hung on each side of the door.

They wear warrior robes, have gentle dispositions and are usually shown as standing. Qin Shu Bao holds a slender club, whereas Wei Chi Gong holds a mace.

The portraits of the Door Gods are usually changed just before Chinese New Year. Worn out portraits does not have the ability to keep away evil spirits and to protect the house. 

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The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven

(九 天 玄 女, Jiu Tian Xuan Nu )

 

The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven is a female deity. She had been the teacher of the ancient Yellow Emperor. When the Yellow Emperor had been fighting the rebel Ch`i You, the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven descended and bestowed the Yellow Emperor with the military register for dispatching, with a seal and sword. She made a drum that was made out of cow skin with eighty sides, which the Yellow Emperor used to defeat Ch`i You.

During the period of spring and autumn, the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven transformed herself into the Jade Lady of Nan Shan. She helped the Yueh State send a punitive expedition against the Wu State, and taught the army to be equipped with six thousand highly qualified soldiers. Afterwards, she departed without bidding farewell, and soared to the sky. On the Nan Shan mountain, the king of the Yueh State built a temple in commemoration of her. The temple is named the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven.

The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven has a disciple whose name was Pai-Yun Tong-chun. He received all the dharma-methods from the Mysterious Lady, and later was able to be elevated to heaven to be in charge of the Taoist books that belong to the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven.

She is depicted as a fair rosy complexion lady, usually brandishing a sword in her right hand while the left hand holds a gourd. The Taoist gourd is a symbol of immortality, healing (contains golden elixir), longevity and good fortune.

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The Great Spirits of The Earth

(福 德 正 神, Fu De Zheng Shen)

 

The great spirits of the earth possess great spiritual powers that not many spirits can match! Why! There is several aspect of the earth; it is wide and extensive, it supports and nourishes all living beings, it receives the great rain, it produces grass and trees, it holds all planted seeds, it produces medicines, it is impartial and it holds many treasures.
  

All the lands through out the world receives his protection; all the grasses, woods, stones, sands, paddy fields, hemp, bamboo, reeds, grains, rice, gems, and oil come forth from the ground because of his power. He can even prevent plagues ghosts from spreading epidemics; furthermore he’s the greatest wealth deity on earth! The image on the left is the sculpture of the great spirits of the earth. He’s always depicted as an elderly man with a white beard usually smiling and maintaining a benevolent expression. He holds an auspicious wish fulfilling object called “Ru Yi” 「如意」.While the other hand on the right holds several gold ingots.  He is also called “The Upright Spirit of Fortune and Wealth” (福德正神) when worshipped in temples and homes; while in a cemetery, he is called “Hou Tu” (后土)

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The Thunder God ( 雷 公, Lei Gong )

 

It is believed that a bolt of lightning erupting in the midst of the dark universe disrupts the primordial chaos. Hence at the beginning of time, chaos is altered into order by lightning. Thunder and lightning are worshipped by the primitive because it is one of the greatest forces in the Universe that is feared by man.

In mythology, the Thunder god is in charge of thunder. He is portrayed as having a green face and body, he resemble a bird like creature his face has a beak. Holds a hammer and chisel, when struck together lightning bolts are released.
He could punish on behalf of Heaven, could strike a vicious person, such as unfillial sons or daughter, able to distinguish between good and evil, and uphold justice.  In Buddhism he is a Dharma protector.

It is believed his feature derives from the Garuda, a mystical bird-like creature who was the messenger or vehicle of the Hindu god Lord Vishnu. He bears a close resemblance to the Garuda as expounded in Hindu text and Buddhist sutra’s as one of the “Eight class of mystical beings” (天 龍 八 部, Tian Long Ba Bu ).

The Garuda is the arch enemy of the snake, dragon or “naga”, which he feeds on them. Historically, from classical Indian mythology, Garuda is the king of birds.
Slightly fierce, with one face in the form of an eagle, round eyes and a curved beak, Adorned with gold necklaces and bracelets, the lower body is covered with feathers and large wings are unfurled behind. Standing on legs of two talons above coiled snake.

If you were to make a comparative study of the features of the Thunder god and Garuda based on these pictures, you will discover that there is a close resemblance in terms of the features.

                                    Lord Vishnu and the Garuda

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Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva ( Di Zang Wang Pu Sa, 地 藏 王 普 薩 )

                                   

 

Di Zhang may be represented in sitting or standing posture. He always has a kind and benevolent feature and carries either, or both, his symbols of the Cintamani or “Wish-fulfilling Jewel’ and the “Ringed-Staff”, which is also called the Khakkhara. This ringed staff is often carried by Buddhist monks in their travels so that the sounds caused by the jingling rings can warn small animals and insects of their approach lest they be trod upon and killed. It is also sometimes called the alarm-staff.

In the much treasured picture of Di Zhang Pu Sa, which is found in many Buddhist homes and temples, he is seen seated upon a lotus throne. His hands holds the precious flaming pearl which has vast magical powers beyond description. He wears the robe of a Northern Buddhist monk and on his head is the “Five-leaves crown, where the representation of a Dhyani-Buddha can be seen on each of the leaves”.
 

Whenever you have the urge to pray to this Bodhisattva for any help, visualize him a few seconds as you silently recite, “NAMO DI ZHANG WANG PUSA” . Di Zhang Pu Sa is very responsive to sincere prayers of faith and he may yet grant you your wish, if it is not too unselfish or unreasonable. All may pray to him with this simple invocation and, due to, your past karmic links with him may yet make you into another ardent Ti Tsang devotee again in this lifetime.

The standing posture of Di Zhang is particularly popular in Japan where he is known as Jizo Bosatsu. It represents the readiness of Jizo to respond immediately to the calls of help made by those who have faith in his saving powers. Standing upon a lotus, he holds his precious flaming jewel with his left hand while the ringed staff is held with the right, ever ready to force open the gates of Hell with the staff and to dispel the darkness of the infernal realm with his luminous gem.

Di Zhang is at times depicted accompanied by a dog, which also has a significant meaning. On the death of his mother, the Bodhisattva, not as “Sacred Girl’, hastened into the underworld with the view of comforting her and to seek favorable treatment for her. However, he could not find her but later discovered that she had already taken rebirth as a female dog. Upon his return to earth Di Zhang soon traced and adopted the animal, which then became his companion on his pilgrimages.
Another popular depiction of him is in this standing or ‘activity-form’ which has his left hand holding an alms bowl against his navel, while his right hand forms the mudra (hand-sign) of “giving consolation and peace to all living beings”.

Di Zhang Pu Sa has many emanations and he has manifested in countless forms to save beings at different times and places. In the Chinese Buddhist Pantheon his is the only figure in the form of a monk. This is to indicate that Mahayana Buddhism is suitable for both the monks and the laity.
Di Zhang’s compassion is not practiced exclusively for the benefit of the beings of the hell realm, he also gives blessings to those of the world who seek his help and he is a comforter of the poor, oppressed, sick, hungry, and those who are troubled by spirits and nightmares. Those who have firm faith in him can easily receive his protection. With faith one needs to recite any of these simple prayers:
“NAMO DI ZHANG WANG P’USA’ or
“NAMO KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA”.

Images of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are recognized by the symbols that they are associated with. Each of these symbols has a particular meaning which most people are unaware of. For example, the KHAKKHARA, or Ringed Staff, which Di Zhang holds, is not only meant to warn small and crawling creatures of his approach so as to avoid stepping on them but also to inform people of his presence through the jingling caused by the rings. Often a traveling monk on a pilgrimage has to stop at homes to seek alms and since he does not wish to speak unnecessarily, he usually announces his arrival by shaking his sounding staff.

The Khakkhara is often a wooden staff capped with metal loops or crotchets and rings, which are four, six or twelve in number. The Four-ringed staff is carried by a monk who has perceived the Four Noble Truths of Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the Cessation of Suffering, and the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering. The Six-ringed staff belongs to a Bodhisattva who is constantly practicing the Six Paramitas, while the Twelve-ringed staff is held by a Pratyeka Buddha who has realized the Twelve-fold Links of Causation.

As a result of Di Zhang P’usa having made this promise to Sakyamuni Buddha: “I will fulfill your instructions to continue to relieve beings from their states of suffering and lead them to Salvation. I shall strive to work hard until the next Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, comes to the world “. He is also adored as the “Master of the Six Worlds of Desire,” thus there are depictions of him being surrounded by a Bodhisattva, an Asura, a Man, an Animal (horse or ox), a Preta, and a Demon holding a pitchfork, which symbolizes the six different forms he assumes in the six realms to save the beings there.

In the Chapter 12: The Benefits of Seeing and Hearing of the Di Zhang Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha gave this advice for the benefit of all human beings:
“Listen to me carefully and I shall tell you in detail. If virtuous ones of the future see the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s image, hear the Ksitigarbha Sutra, recite this Sutra, make offerings to Ksitigrabha, pay homage to him, they will receive these benefits:

1. They will be protected by devas and dragons.
2. Their ability to do good will be increased.
3. Opportunities for doing good will increase.
4. They will strive to attain Buddhahood.
5. They will enjoy sufficiency of food and clothing.
6. They will be free from diseases.
7. Floods and fire will not affect them.
8. Robbers will not trouble them.
9. They will be respected and admired by people.
10. Spirits and devas will protect and assist them.
11. Females shall be reborn as males.
12. The females will become daughters of noble and exalted families.
13. They will be reborn with good complexion.
14. They will be reborn in the heavens for many lives.
15. They will be reborn as kings or rulers of countries.
16. They will have wisdom to recollect their past lives.
17. They will be successful in all their aspirations.
18. They will enjoy happy family relationships.
19. Disasters will not affect them.
20. Their bad karma will be removed.
21. Wherever they go, they are safe.
22. They shall always have peaceful dreams.
23. Their deceased relatives shall be free from sufferings.
24. They will be reborn with happiness.
25. They will be praised by divine beings.
26. They will be intelligent and skilful.
27. They will have compassion for others.
28. They will finally attain Buddhahood.

The birthday of Di Zhang Pu Sa falls on the 30th day of the 7th moon of the Chinese lunar calendar. All over the world Buddhist temples offer prayers to Di Zhang Pu Sa during the 7th lunar month for the benefit of the dead.
Di Zhang’s popularity among the Chinese and Japanese Buddhists is second only to Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa as he takes upon himself the fearful and difficult task of bringing relief and consolation to the suffering beings of hell.

Liu Ren Xian Shi (六壬仙師 ).

 

A renowned Taoist master during the Tang dynasty originates from ChangAn Province China. His actual name is Lee Shun Feng (李淳風). This Taoist Sect is also known as Shun Feng Tao (淳風道) named after the founder of this Sect. At a young age he had learning disabilities, both his parents were very concern. They invited a Taoist master to view his physiognomy.

Physiognomy, which claims to find correspondences between bodily features and psychological characteristics, often makes use of such supposed similarities. The Taoist master revealed that based on the physiognomy of the child, his learning disabilities are only temporarily. He has the features of a great sage and shall lead living beings to salvations.

After the Taoist master gave the prediction, later at the age of six he can master all the Chinese classics, literatures and even memorize every single word after reading once! He was so brilliant that not anyone can match him at that age. Due to his past karma or affinity with the Taoist master he met him again at the age of twelve and requested the Taoist master to take him as a disciple. However the Taoist master refused as he was told to fulfill his obligations to his parents. In China we place great emphasis in filial piety and repaying the kindness of parents. The Taoist master promised him that when the time is ripe he shall appear again to offer him the discipleship. He didn’t have to wait long as both his parents deceased when he was nineteenth years old.
 

He followed the Taoist Master and learned Taoist alchemy, spiritual cultivations, meditations, divination, and art of war. With the wisdom and power he possessed he begins helping numerous people, everywhere relieving them of their hardship and suffering. Her was later canonized as a deity and the founder of Taoist sect Shun Feng Tao ( 淳 風 道 ).

Lord Guan Ti ( 關 帝 聖 君 )

Zhou Chang ( 周 倉 )              Guan Ti ( 關 帝 )                  Guan Ping ( 關 平 )

 

Guan Ti or Guan Yun Chang was born in Shan Xi province during the Three Kingdom (220 – 260 AD). He led a simple life and made his living as a young man by selling bean-curds, thus he is worship by bean-curd sellers as their patron god today. He has an excellent memory power that he had the ability to recite word for word the entire Classics after reading it for once.
 

Therefore students taking examinations usually pray to him to bless them success. He is also worshipped as the God of Literature by scholars. Some idols of Guan Ti can be found seated while holding a book.

He was known for his righteous, and justice which got Guan Yu into trouble when he interfered with a licentious and corrupt magistrate who forced a poor lady to become his concubine. The magistrate was slayed by Guan Yu. He had to flee for his life and escape to the mountain to seek refuge. As he was on his journey to the neighboring province he stops by a stream to have a wash; when to his surprise he noticed a great changed in his appearance! His facial complexion had changed from pale white to reddish tint which saved him to disguise himself and was able to walk through the sentries who was guarding the mountain pass.

When he reached Chu-Chou of the Szechuan Province he be, befriends Zhang Fei and Liu Bei who shared his noble ideals and virtues. They took the oath of brotherhood in a peach orchard, and sworn as “brothers”. Chang Fei was a butcher, became the youngest brother. He was a man of fiery temper who had an unyielding sense of justice and was well known for his immense appetite both for food and adventure. He had a black face which was full of whiskers and his formidable height of seven feet tall; very few would dare cross his path. His great love and loyalty to Guan Yu has won him a place of honor he is always seen standing beside Kuan Yu in all depictions.

Liu Bei, the elder brother who came from a distinguished but impoverished family with imperial linkage, was known to be a man of honor.  Guan Yu, a powerful figure of more than eight feet tall, possessed an enigmatic personality and integrity that won him respect of all whom he met.

Together the three sworn brothers set out and became involved in military pursuits, They displayed great military prowess and fought many battles which is recorded in details in the famous novels of “The Three Kingdoms”.  Based on the recorded history of his life Guan Yu had many occasions display his nobility, uprightness, integrity, loyalty and bravery. Despite living at a time of great distress and chaos during the Han Dynasty, he would never be tempted to acquire wealth, fame and power as he remain faithful to his oath that he had taken with his brothers at the peach orchard; “ To be loyal to each other in life and united in death”.

In the year 219 A.D. he was captured by Sun Chuan and executed. It was recorded that on the night of his death, his spirit appeared before a Buddhist monk, to seek refuge to the Buddha dharma. Based on a Buddhist account, Guan Yu manifest before the Tripitaka Master Chi Tsai, the founder of Tien Tai Buddhism, with a retinue of spiritual beings. After receiving the teachings Guan Yu requested the Five precepts and took refuge in the Buddha dharma. He vowed that he would be a dharma protector to the Buddha Dharma. Hence, his idol is usually found in the hall of most Buddhist temples. He had earned his place in both the Taoist and Buddhist  pantheon of deities. 

Goddess of the Northern Star

( Dou Mu Yuan Jun, 斗 母 元 君 ) 

Goddess of the Northern Star ( 斗 母 元 君 ) 

Tou Mu, the Bushel Mother, or Goddess of the North Star, are worshipped by both Buddhists and Taoists. From a Taoist perspective she is a stellar divinity, her full name being Jiu Lin Tai Miao Bai Yu Gui Tai Zu Guang Jin Jing Zu Mu Yuan Jun (九 靈 太 妙 白 玉 貴 台 祖 光 金 精 祖 母 元 君 ). She is also called Du Mu Yuan Jun ( 斗 母 元 君 ).

As told in the scriptures, Madame Zi Guang went to the imperial garden for sight seeing. She was captivated by the hot spring water next to the lotus pool and took a bath there, miraculously nine lotus buds appeared and after a while the lotus blossomed and came out nine infants. After these nine children grown up, the eldest son Gou Cheng Xing ( 勾 城 星 ) became one of the heavenly gods, named North Star (Zi Wei Da Di, 紫 微 大 帝 ). The rest of the brothers were Tang Lang ( 貪 狼 ), Ju Men ( 巨门 ), Lu Cun ( 路存),  Wen Qu ( 文 曲 ), Lian Zhen         ( 廉 貞 ), Wu Qu ( 武 曲 ) and Po Jun ( 破 君 ) are the group of stars known as the Big Dipper Seven Stars.

After giving birth to nine sons Madame Zi Guang was honoured with the title Big Dipper True Holy Virtue Heavenly Queen ( 北 斗 九 真 聖 德 天 后 ).

There is another legend that states The King of Chou Yue, in the north, married her on hearing of her many virtues. They had nine sons. Yuan-shih T’ien Jun        ( 元 始 天 君 ) came to earth to invite her, her husband, and nine sons to enjoy the delights of Heaven.

The Big Dipper Seven Stars are in charge of the fate of human and earthly fate in the universe. Every star controls the earthly fate for a period of 20 years. The division of 3 yuan and 9 yun (三 云 九 運 ) of Feng shui originated from this theory.

For these who offend the Grand Duke or Tai Sui ( 太 歲 ) for the year of the Dog 2006, should pray to Tai Sui. However there is another alternative besides praying to Tai Sui, you can also pray to Goddess of the Northern Star or Dou Mu to relieve you of any difficulty, danger and bad luck. Those affected sign are Ox, Ram, Dog, Rat, Dragon and Monkey for this year 2006.

The reason is because the Goddess of the Northern Star is the mother of Nine Stars her power is inconceivable as she oversee the welfare of all beings.

She is depicted with 3 eyes on her forehead, 4 heads on shoulders, a head with 4 faces, 8 arms 2 palms clasp together, the other 6 arms holding a sun, moon, precious bell, bow and arrow, a seal of authority and halberd.  She bears a close resemblance to the Buddhist deity Marichi, Goddess of Dawn. Her features and the dharma implements she’s holding are almost identical.

Marichi, Goddess of the Dawn

 

Marichi, (Tibetan Buddhism : o zer chen ma, English: the One Having Light Rays), Goddess of the Dawn. Marichi is a red-coloured female yidam associated with the sun and with dawn.

Her mantra is traditionally used as protection by travelers. She has three faces, eight arms and two legs. She holds the powerful Tantric tools (in her right hands) of vajra (at the heart in the mudra of teaching), the vajra ax, the arrow, the mudra of generosity (holding a sewing needle. In her left hands: the mudra of teaching hold the stem of a healing plant, a bow, a thread, and loop with hook drawn along by seven white boars.

The goddess Marichi is the manifestation of the twenty-one forms of Tara and has the special power to avert bandits, robbers, and thieves. She is a most sublime goddess who is the ally of beings who are bereft of companionship and support and who are subject to the coercion of others more powerful than they.

The Eight Immortals

The Chinese character 仙, which signify immortal, is composed of 人 man and 山 a mountain. It denotes the superior class of human spirits, who, having been deified, dwell in remote mountains devoid of human inhabitants. They are imbued with the power of being visible and invisible at pleasure, of raising the dead, of changing stones they touch into gold, and of effecting at pleasure various other wonderful transmutations. The Eight Immortals or Ba Xian (八仙), are legendary beings of the Taoist sect, said to have lived at various times and attained immortality through their cultivation of Tao’s or nature secret.
Their eminent position has been attained by cultivation, to which eight, including one female (He Xian Gu, 何仙姑) have risen higher than other.

The Chief of the Eight Immortals
Zhong LiQuan, 鐘离權

 

In Taoism, he is known as Zheng Yang Ju Shi, 正陽袓師. Literally, the True Yang First Master. He is the Chief of the Eight Immortals, is said to have lived during the Han dynasty and have possessed the secrets of the elixir of life, and the power of transmutation. He is also known as Zhongli of Han (漢鐘離) because he was born in the Han Dynasty. He is usually depicted as a fat man exposing his bare belly, always grasping his emblem, a fan, which has the magical ability of reviving the dead. 

Zhang GuoLao, 張果老

 

Elder Zhang Guo, lived during the 7th and 8th century AD is a hermit who had spiritual powers of magic, i.e. rendering himself invisible, He is accompanied by a white mule, which carried him immense distances and when not, required was transformed into a paper mule, folded up and put away in his pouch. When he wished to resume his travels, he sprinkles some water upon the paper mule revived it and the mule will appear at once. He generally rode his mule backwards. His emblem is the “Yugu” (魚故), a kind of musical instrument in the shape of bamboo tube or drum with two rods to beat it.

Lu Dong Bin, 呂洞

 

He is the most widely known among the group of deities known as the Eight Immortals and hence considered by some to be the de facto leader. He was born during the Tang Dynasty (AD750). A scholar and ascetic who learnt the secrets of Taoism from Zhong LiQuan, the Chief of the Eight Immortals, and attained immortality at the age 50. He is the patron saint of barbers and is also worshipped by the sick. He is generally depicted wearing a scholar clothes and head gear, holds in his right hand a Taoist fly whisk, and his emblem, a sword, which is slung across his back. He is well known of slaying and getting rids of various forms of evil on earth for more than 400 years.

Cao Guo Jiu, 曹國舅

 

He was born during the Song Dynasty (AD930-999) as the son of a military commander by the name Cao Bin 曹彬, that happens to be the brother of Empress Cao Hou 曹后. He is depicted dressed in official robes, a court headdress and he holds a pair of castanets, which is his emblem. The castanets are said to be derived from the court tablets, authorizing free access to the Imperial palace, to which he was entitled due to his birth. 

Li TieGuai, 李铁拐

 

He was born during the Western Zhou period, and was originally named Li Yüan. He studied with Lao Tzu (founder of Taoism) and Goddess Hsi Wang Mu. He is said to have devoted 40 years to the practice of meditation and cultivation of Taoist esoteric practice.

Before becoming an immortal, he had a pleasant disposition. However, on one occasion his spirit traveled to celestial realm. He instructs his disciple to wait seven days for his spirit to return; but after six days the student had to return to attend his sick mother, so he cremated his body assuming that he had deceased.

Upon returning, Li was forced to enter the only body available, the corpse of a homeless beggar who had died of starvation; who unfortunately had “a long and pointed head, blackened face, woolly and disheveled beard and hair, huge eyes, and a lame leg.” His emblem is the pilgrim’s gourd which identifies him as one of the Eight Immortals, and his iron crutch.

Han  XiangZi, 韓湘子

 

He is the nephew of Han Yu 韓愈, a famous scholar and statesman who lived during the Tang Dynasty (AD820). He is the disciple of Lu DongBin, he became an immortal when he fell into a supernatural peach tree. He has the ability of making flowers grow and blossom instantaneously. His emblem is the flute, and he is the patron of musicians. He wanders around, playing his flute, enticing birds and beast of prey by the sweet melodious sound of his flute. 

Lan Caihe, 藍采和

 

He was from Tang Dynasty. His behavior was out of norm and known for its bizarreness. He wore only shorts and thin shirts in winter, and thick jacket and long pants in summer. He walked with one foot bare and another with shoe.
His distinctive emblem is a flower-basket, often carried slung on a hoe over his shoulder. The basket contains various flora associated with ideas of longevity.

He Xian Gu, 何仙姑

 

Lived during the 7th century AD, she is the daughter of a shopkeeper of LingLing 零陵, Hunan province in the Tang Dynasty. According to one account at the age of thirteen, she often went to the mountains to collect medicinal herbs. One day, she encountered the Immortal Lu DongBin who gave her a peach and told her, “You shall become an immortal is you eat it”. She did as he said, and miraculously she, never felt hungry or thirsty, can float and jumped from one cliff to another gathering medicinal herbs to help the sick. In addition, she could predict people’s fortune.  Her emblem is the lotus, which she carries in her hand. And at times she is also depicted holding a fly whisk on the other hand.

 

Er Lang Shen, 二郎神

 

Erlang Shen (二郎神), named Yang Jian (杨戬), is a Chinese God with a third true-seeing eye in the middle of his forehead.  According to the “Story about Li Bing and his son in harnessing the rivers”, After being appointed governor of Sichuan by King Zhao of the State of Qin. Li Bing diverts water from the two rivers of Chengdu to irrigate thousand hectares of farmlands. His son ErLang helps him to build water control systems to prevent flood. Based on a historical record says, “The Erlang Temple of Guan-Kou in Sichuan was established to commemorate LiBing’s merits in opening up wells, building bridges, irrigation of the agricultural lands, developing the Guanxian area and Chengdu plain, and increasing agricultural production.
 

Here is another legend about ErLang with his seven friends vanquishing an evil dragon. On their journey ErLang and his seven friends approached a thatched cottage by a river near the county town of Guanxian, they heard someone crying inside. They entered and found an elderly woman wailing for her youngest grandson who was to be taken away as a sacrificial offering for the river god-an evil dragon. Astonished, ErLang seek his father advice on how to capture the monster. LiBing taught him a strategy, on the sacrificial procession ErLang holding his three-pointed and double-edged sword in hand, went into the River God Temple with his seven friends, and hid themselves behind the altar.
 

After a while, the dragon descends with a gust of strong wind and torrential rain into the temple to snatch the sacrifice. ErLang and his mates jumped out immediately and fight it. Defeated the dragon flee out of the temple. As planned by LiBing the villagers beat their drums and gongs to emit loud sounds to petrify the dragon. This scared the dragon who fled into the river. ErLang and his mates pursued the dragon by diving into the river. The dragon was finally captured.
 

The old woman who had been grievously crying for her grandson gave ErLang a chain to express her gratitude for saving his grandson. ErLang tied the dragon to a stone post of the Vanquishing Dragon Temple and had it detained in a deep pool. From that day onwards, the area was free from flood.     
ErLang is depicted carrying a three-pointed and double edge-sword and has a Celestial Hound that follows him around.

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s

The Three Pure Ones ( )

The Jade Emperor ( , Yu Huang Da Di)

Avalokitesvara

 – The Ones Who Regards The World Sounds
(
, Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa )

Jiang Tai Gong, ( Jiang Tai Gong, )

The God in Charge of Granting Titles to Gods

Taoist Master Zhang, ( Zhang Tian Shi, )

 

The Queen of Heaven ( , Tian Hou Sheng Mu)

The Supreme Lord of the Dark Heaven

( , Xuan Tian Shang Ti )

Imperial Sovereign Wen Chang

( , Wen Chang Di Jun )

The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven

( , Jiu Tian Xuan Nu )

The Great Spirits of The Earth

( , Fu De Zheng Shen)

The Thunder God ( , Lei Gong )

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva ( Di Zang Wang Pu Sa, )

Liu Ren Xian Shi (六壬仙師 ).

Goddess of the Northern Star

( Dou Mu Yuan Jun, )

The Chief of the Eight Immortals
Zhong LiQuan, 鐘离權

Zhang GuoLao, 張果老

Er Lang Shen, 二郎神

All The figures above still not yet Found By dr Iwan ,The illustration and information will  upload when the collections were exist.