Thursday, July 13, 2006

Zhong Kui

Zhong Kui (鍾馗) is a figure of Chinese mythology. Traditionally regarded as a vanquisher of demons, his image is often painted on household gates as a guardian spirit.

Zhong Kui's popularity in folklore can be traced to the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang China (712 to 756). According to Song Dynasty sources, once the Emperor Xuanzong was gravely ill. He had a dream in which he saw two ghosts. The smaller of the ghosts stole a purse from imperial consort Yang Guifei and a flute belonging to the emperor. The bigger ghost, wearing the hat of an official, captured the smaller ghost, tore out his eye and ate it. The bigger ghost then introduced himself as Zhong Kui. He said that he had sworn to rid the empire of evil.

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