Yanluo the King of Diyu, the Chinese Underworld

Yanluo is often portrayed with an angry red face and long beard. (Wait a minute, isn’t that also Guan Yu’s signature look?)
He is not only the king of the underworld, but also the judge who decides the fate of the dead.
Rather than an individual deity, Yanluo Wang is sometimes said to be a celestial position that can even be assumed by worthy mortals after death.
Some say that the famous Justice Bao Zheng of the Song Dynasty was appointed as the judge of the dead, assisted by his three assistants Old Age, Illness and Death.
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Azuchi-Momoyama period wall scroll depicting Yanluo Wang.
Do read this excellent post on The Jade Turtle Records blog that describes Yanluo Wang in detail, including the Indian Vedic King Yama.

The Eight Immortals

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As far as I know, there are more than eight Daoist immortals so I’m not sure what sets the eight, in the group known as The Eight Immortals (Bāxiān  八仙), apart from the rest. 

Each immortal has an instrument or implement onto which the immortals may transfer his/her power. These instruments are known as the Covert Eight Immortals (暗八仙).

The exact identities of the Eight Immortals are unknown, but some of them are associated with actual historical figures born during the Tang and Song dynasties. Apparently they reside on a group of five mythical islands in the Bohai Sea, namely Mount Penglai (蓬莱) Island, Fāngzhàng (方丈), Yíngzhōu (瀛州), Dàiyú (岱輿), and Yuánjiāo (員嬌).

The Eight Immortals are He Xian’gu (何仙姑), Cao Guojiu (曹國舅), Li Tieguai (李铁拐), Lan Caihe, Lü Dongbin (呂洞賓), Han Xiangzi, Zhang Guolao and Zhongli Quan (钟离权). Continue reading “The Eight Immortals”

The Three Stars

 

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They are Fu (福), Lu (祿) and Shou (壽): Happiness, Status and Longevity, also known as the Three Stars (Sanxing 三星).

They sound like a particularly cheesy pop group, but actually, these three deities are the personification of actual ‘stars’, which, in Chinese astronomy, control the particular aspects that each god is thought to have influence on. Continue reading “The Three Stars”