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The Door Gods

As the name signifies, door gods are Chinese gods placed on each side of the entrance to a temple, home, business, etc. These gods are believed to keep evil spirits away. These gods are not only guarding the gates of emperor Tang Taizong but also believed to be guarding every Chinese home. They keep the evil spirits away from entering the home. Even in India there are two gigantic men guarding the gates of heaven where Vishnu, the protector of universe resides. They are known as Dwara and Palaka. 

 In China this custom dates back to the Tang Dynasty, whose founder Emperor Tang Taizong honored two of his most loyal generals Qin Qiong and Yuchi Jingde guarding his palace doors to keep evil spirits from disturbing him. Both the door gods are huge in size and sport a moustache. While one holds a sword in his hand the other holds a stick and a deadly weapon. One is fair skinned and the other is dark skinned. Emperors who followed Tang Taizong hung their painted portraits on their front door. Ordinary families soon adopted the imperial custom, putting woodblock prints of the ever-vigilant generals on their front gates in the hope of attracting good luck and fending off evil spirits. The positioning of Door Gods custom soon spread throughout China, adding other folklore heroes and mythological figures to the repertoire.

The door gods usually come in pairs, facing each other; it is considered bad luck to place the figures back-to-back. There are several different forms of door gods. The most frequently used are Qin Qiong and Yuchi Jingde. Even today many Hakka households stick the two door guardsí photo on their front door. Though it is a superstitious belief there is evidence that the eyes of the door gods can ward off negative thoughts and gives protection to the house hold. They are always found in pairs and guard each side of the front door.

These paintings or posters of door gods are today painted with vibrant colors and made to look ferocious so that the evil spirits or demons donít enter the temple, or home or office where they are positioned. The paintings have a touch of Chinese theatre style and get enhanced with time. There are inner door gods as well. While the outer ones look ferocious the inner ones look calm and provide a serene atmosphere to the place of dwelling.

The door gods are known for their trustworthiness, strength and loyalty, bolstered by a fierce martial countenance and impressive weaponry. Their posting at the most vulnerable point of an otherwise solidly enclosed courtyard situated them at the front line of defense in the spiritual security of the home.


 

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