Taoist Exorcist pendant Zhong Kui. Obsidian eye celeste quality A
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Zhong Kui (Chinese: 鍾馗; pinyin: Zhong Kua; in Japanese: Shaki) is a legendary exorcist from China.
Divinity of Chinese mythology. The god of Taoist exorcism
Traditionally regarded as a slayer of ghosts and evil beings, and reputedly capable of commanding 80,000 demons, his image is often painted on the doors of households as a guardian spirit, as well as in places of business where valuable goods are involved.
According to tradition, Zhong Kui travelled with a friend from his hometown, Du Ping (杜), to participate in the imperial examinations held in the capital. Despite Zhong Kui's excellent results and obtaining the best honours in the main exams, his legitimate title of "Zhuangyuan" (best candidate) was withdrawn by the emperor because of his deformed appearance.
In anger and fury, Zhong Kui committed suicide on the steps of the palace by violently throwing himself against the palace gates until his head was broken.
In his trial after his death by suicide, Yama, the king of the underworld, fully appreciated Zhong Kui's potential and brilliant intelligence, but, condemned to hell by his suicide.
Yama gave him the title of King of Ghosts and asked him to hunt, capture, take charge and maintain the discipline and order of all ghosts.
The new king of the underworld returned to the world of the living to thank his friend Du Ping and agreed to the latter's marriage to Zhong Kui's sister,
Zhong Kui's popularity in Taoist symbolism can be attributed to the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang (712 to 756).
According to Song Dynasty sources, two ghosts, taking advantage of a serious illness of the emperor, took advantage of a dream to attack him, stealing an important bag closing important imperial information and a flute belonging to him.
Zhong Kui captured the two thieves, snatched the eye of one of the two and ate him
The emperor awoke healed from his illness.
He ordered the court painter Wu Daozipour to produce a portrait of Zhong Kui and showed it to court officials.
This painting will inspire all subsequent representations for a long time.
Zhong Kui became legendary and became a very popular theme in painting, art and folklore.
Representations of the exorcist deity are often hung in houses in order to drive out ghosts and other striking spirits.
Wearing it as a pendant also plays this protective role.
Its representation is often present during the New Year celebrations in order to guarantee an excellent year
He is often represented in Japanese art. He appears bearded, armed with a long sword and sometimes wearing a large straw hat. This hero fights and kills oni (Japanese devils).
In Taiwan and southern Fujian, at the end of some ceremonies, a Taoist master or sword-wielding actor Zhong Kui is sometimes asked to perform a dance that is supposed to drive out evil spirits. Traditionally, this show was considered dangerous for the ordinary audience who left before its performance.
In the Chinese world, Zhong Kui sometimes appears as a protective god on the doors.
The myth of Zhong Kui has earlier origins than the Tang Dynasty. According to scholars Yang Shen (杨慎, 1488-1559), Gu Yanwu (顧炎, 1613-1682) and Zhao Yi (赵翼, 1727-1814), the name of the character would be a graphic variant of zhong kui (终葵), a ritual object of exorcism, whose name would be the disyllabic expansion of zhui (椎), stick used to drive out spirits, according to ancient books like the Zhouli. According to Taiwanese folklorist Hu Wanchuan (胡萬), Zhong Kui's character is linked to the ancient Chinese traditions of nuo exorcism, in which disguised young men expelled bad influences from the palace during the Chinese New Year period.
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