Saturday, April 15, 2006

Guan Yu (關羽)

Guan Yu (關羽)(160219) was a military general under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period in ancient China. He played a significant role in the civil war that led to the collapse of the Han Dynasty and the establishment of the Kingdom of Shu, of which Liu Bei was the first emperor.

In general worship, Guan Yu's is widely referred to as Emperor Guan (關帝), short for his Taoist title Saintly Emperor Guan (關聖帝君). Temples and shrines dedicated exclusively to Guan Yu could be found in parts of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and other places where Chinese congregate. Some of these temples, such as the Emperor Guan Temple in Xiezhou (解州), Shanxi, were built exactly in the layout of a palace, befitting his status as an "emperor".

Guan Yu is revered as Saintly Emperor Guan (Simplified Chinese: 关圣帝君; Traditional Chinese: 關聖帝君; Pinyin: Gūanshèngdìjūn) and a leading subduer of demons in Taoism. Taoist worship of Guan Yu began during the Song Dynasty. Legend has it that during the second decade of the 12th century, the saltwater lake in the present day Xiezhou County (解州镇) gradually ceased to yield salt. Emperor Huizong then summoned Celestial Master Zhang Jixian (張繼先), thirtieth descendent of Celestial Master Zhang Daoling, to investigate the cause. The emperor was told that the disruption was the work of Chi You, a deity of war. The Master then recruited the help of Guan Yu, who did battle with Chi You over the lake and triumphed, whereupon the lake resumed salt production. Emperor Huizong then bestowed upon Guan Yu the title of Immortal of Chongning (崇寕真君), formally introducing the latter as a deity into Taoism.


Anonymous Chris said...

Jess, I have a few pix of the Guanyu temple in Shanxi. It's the largest in the world I think (he was born there). There's one on post 7 (find the hidden kid...) in front of his altar.
Rock it!

1:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home