Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gods and Goddesses: Zhang Xian

Zhang Xian, a god few have heard of. God of birth and protector of children, but only those who are male. An archer who is often depicted with bow and arrow in hand, aiming at a celestial dog known as Tiangu. Er Lang, the nephew of the Jade Emperor (the very ruler of Heaven) and is an enemy of Zhang Xian himself.
Sometimes Zhang Xian and the god of prosperity, Lu, are mistaken to be the same.
Zhang Xian was originally a man called Meng Chang with a beloved concubine, Lady Huarui, living during the Late Shu dynasty. As Meng Chang he loved Lady Huarui deeply and once gave the woman a picture of himself as an archer which he drew himself.
Misfortune struck as in 965AD, Ren Zong of the Song Dynasty attacked the Shu Dynasty. Meng Chang surrendered and got the title of Lord Qin, with a week passing before the man passed away by an unobvious cause. Ren Zong, who was then emperor made Lady Huarui his concubine.
Lady Huarui hung her picture of Meng Chang and prayed to it everyday in remembrance, capturing the suspicion of Ren Zong. When asked, Lady Huarui replied that the archer was Zhang Xian and claimed to be worshipped by the people of Shu by those asking for a son. Ren Zong was happy as who Lady Huarui was praying to and allowed her to do so.
Lady Huarui, for what she had told Ren Zong, was horror stricken.
People around the palace started to worship Meng Chang under the name of Zhang Xian, with Ren Zong eventually having a dream of a bearded man holding a bow and a stone pellet in hands who said he was Zhang Xian. Ren Zong was told that he had no children due to the Celestial Dog guarding the city gate. It was upon waking up that Ren Zong ordered images of Zhang Xian be pasted all over the city and thus was introduced to the common people who began worshipping Zhang Xian.

No comments:

Post a Comment