Daoism and Cct

Religious Beliefs

Who are some of the principal gods of CCT?

Many of the popular deities play multiple roles and sometimes resemble each other enough that one has to look carefully to identify them correctly. One of the most popular and frequently depicted deities is Guan Di (d. 220 C.E.), often inaccurately characterized as the “war god” under the name Wu Di. He was a third-century military leader named Guan Yu who gained a kind of martyr status after he was executed. By imperial decree in 1594, the deceased general was deified and the word for deity or emperor (di) added to his name. By a peculiar twist, he also acquired the status of secondary God of Literature. Kui Xing is the other secondary god of literature, distinguishable by his dragon-fish, writing brush and official seal, small stature, unpleasant countenance, and awkward one-legged stance. Many pray to him as they prepare for examinations. In popular belief, Kui elbowed out the principal deity of literature, Wen Chang Di Jun, who had actually begun his mythic life as a star deity who was then born as Chang Ya, a famous literary figure. Wen is generally depicted wearing a flowing robe and a large hat and either enthroned or astride a mule. Kui Xing usually stands on his left while on his right stands a red-coated figure. A widely popular goddess in CCT is sometimes called “Holy Heavenly Mother” (Ma Zu). She actually lived during the tenth century and was formally deified by several emperors during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Originally the patroness of sailors and rescuer from storms, she soon became famous for a wider range of powers. Taiwan alone has several hundred Ma Zu temples, where she sits enthroned wearing a royal diadem.


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