The Taiwan Door God — 臺灣門神

Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in blog, Taiwan, Temple Culture | 4 Comments
  • SumoMe
DoorGod

Door God General Wei Chigong is dark skinned, has bulgy eyes and holds a bian(鞭– segmented iron weapon). Kaiji Lingyou Temple, Tainan City, Taiwan

“The ubiquitous ‘door god’ is found on all types of doors throughout Taiwan, from square stickers or hand-painted pieces of paper on traditional houses in the countryside, to apartment doors in modern high-rises. The most beautiful and intricately painted are those found on temple doors, which can be life-size or larger.” from culture.tw

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Old Door Gods preserved in Chendejyu Shrine Museum , Tainan City, Taiwan

“Door gods protect those within by preventing malevolent influences from entering.” from culture.tw

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Door Gods — Four Heavenly Kings and Two Great Protectors — in Kai Yuan Temple’s traditional sanchuan gate. From left to right; Guang Mu, Chi Guo , Skanda, Garan, Duo Wen and Zeng Zhang. Kai Yuan Buddhist Monastery, Tainan City, Taiwan

Origins

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Door God in Guanyin Ting, Grand Mazu Temple, Tainan City, Taiwan



“Door gods have roots in animistic worship; the door, a common protector from outside influences, was worshipped and gradually personified and adopted by popular religions.” from culture.tw

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Door God in Guanyin Ting, Grand Mazu Temple, Tainan City, Taiwan

“Predecessors to door gods were wooden sticks that were carved with a god’s face and affixed to doors. These were called ‘peach wood talismans’ (桃符) and were believed to ward off evil and bring peace and harmony to the household. At the close of every lunar New Year these were placed on the household door. This gradually evolved into the painted pictures of gods that we know as door gods today.” from culture.tw

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Door Gods Garan 伽藍 and General Heng 哼將‡ stand guard at Da Guanyin Ting Temple, Tainan City, Taiwan

Shentu and Yulei(神荼) (鬱壘)

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Traditional Door Gods promising good fortune and promotion, Tainan City, Taiwan

“The earliest recorded door gods, Shentu and Yulei, have their origins in ancient Chinese lore. Shentu and Yulei were brothers with a knack for capturing evil spirits. Their story is found in the ‘Classic of the Mountains and Seas’ (山海經) — a collection of pre-Qin mythology.” from culture.tw

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Rarely seen Twenty Four Solar Terms Door Gods in Tian Tan Jade Emperor Temple, Tainan City, Taiwan

Qin Shubao and Wei Chigong(秦叔寶)(尉遲恭)

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Door God Guangmu with Weituo in the foreground. Kai Yuan Monastery’s door gods are renowned painter Cai Cao Ru’s famous works. Tainan City, Taiwan

“Perhaps the most famous and commonly seen door gods in Taiwan are the military door gods Generals Qin Shubao  and Wei Chigong , who is also called Hu Jingde (胡敬德). It is said that in the Tang Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Tang Taizong there was a great drought. Prime Minister Wei Heng was hastily dispatched to execute the Dragon King for letting the River Jing run dry — even though the emperor had granted a stay. Haunted by the Dragon King’s ghost, the Emperor was unable to sleep or carry out his duties until Qin Shubao and Wei Chigong took up posts outside the Emperor’s bedchamber door, finally enabling the distraught emperor to sleep through the night. Later, portraits of the two generals placed on each side of the door replaced the generals and this custom spread.” from culture.tw

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Generals Qin Shubao (秦叔寶) and Wei Chigong (尉遲恭­) guard the main door while civil gods holding lucky symbols stand at the side doors. Kaiji Lingyou Temple, Tainan City, Taiwan

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