Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Know your gods: The Jade Emperor

According to this source:

"The Yuhuang Dadi (Jade Emperor) is not only one of the supreme gods [in] Taoism, but also the god who is best known and adored among folk people in China...
He [commands] all kinds of traditional gods belonging to Buddhism and Taoism. In the Han Dynasty (AD25-220) when Taoism was just established, he was honored as a supreme god. Later, it was said he used to be a prince from a remote kingdom and cultivated himself according to religious doctrine. By the time of the Tang Dynasty (AD618-907), the Jade Emperor became the assured subject of worship. Afterwards, Taoism was respected in the Tang and Song dynasties and the story about the Jade Emperor was gradually enriched, which greatly influenced the life of common Chinese."

I took this photo in Changhua's Yuanqing Hall. Or, to be accurate, in the temporary shack next to it which currently houses all the icons as the temple is renovated after a devastating fire in the spring of 2006. The face and hands of this particular effigy remind me of the puppets in the 1960s TV series Thunderbirds.

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