By mentioning the name Yuè Fēi 岳飛, (AD1103 – 1142) two sets of distinctive four Chinese words would trigger the mind for those who had known Chinese history. Yes it's 十二金牌 and 盡忠報國. The first set was an order by Emperor Gaozong高宗 who was under the evil influence of his official issued the 十二金牌*pinyin:shí'èr jīn pái* Twelve Golden Medallions to recall Yuè Fēi to return to the capital fearing he could be too powerful after he has led his army to recover most of the lost territory and the latter set is the four Chinese characters 盡忠報國*pinyin:jìn zhōng bào guó* which was tatooed across Yuè Fēi's back by his beloved mother meaning to serve and protect the country with utmost loyalty. What could be the relationship between a military General Yuè Fēi, an icon of patriotism and national hero in Chinese culture and the evil Oil-Fried Devil?
|That's how the medallion roughly looks like. Pixz taken from the movie by Shaw Brothers "Twelve Golden Medallions"|
The story goes back to the Song Dynasty's Prime Minister Qin Hui or Guì 秦檜 and his wife, Lady Wang王氏 conspired with two of his subordinates, Moqi Xie万俟軼 and Zhang Jun 張俊, who successfully framed and caused the death of the innocent military General Yuè Fēi. According to folklore, the people of Hangzhou became extremely angry, hating Qin Hu and his wife to the bone protested by making the cruller depicting Qin Hui秦檜 and his wife with one roll representing the husband and the other the wife joining together and fried them in oil calling out loudly the name 油炸檜 *pinyin:yóu zhá huì* 'Oil-fried Hui'. As 檜Hui and 鬼Gui were conflated with its homophone eventually 油炸檜 *pinyin:yóu zhá huì* 'Oil-fried Hui' evolved to 油炸鬼*pinyin:yóu zhá guǐ* 'Oil-fried Devil' and even until today. In Cantonese-speaking areas it is known as yàu cha gwái *油炸鬼* where '鬼' *gwái* also refers to devil or ghost. Truth or Myth? Bananaz's Beleaf It Or Not!
(Kindly take note the actual Oil-fried Devil is after 0.19mins the earlier ones are called 'mah geok' meaning horse legs. tQ to Autumn Belle for the info.)
For their treacherous part that caused the death of Yuè Fēi 岳飛, the most famous patriot, martyr and hero in Chinese history, iron statues of Qin Hui, Lady Wang, and two of Qin Hui's subordinates, Moqi Xie and Zhang Jun, were made to kneel before Yuè Fēi's tomb (located by Hangzhou's West Lake). For centuries, these statues have been cursed, spat and urinated upon by young and old. However in modern times, these statues are protected as historical relics. As one enters the gateposts of Yuè Fēi's mausoleum there is a poem which reads: "The green hill is fortunate to be the burial ground of a loyal general, the white iron was innocent to be cast into the statues of traitors."
|Iron statues of the Qin Hui, Lady Wang, Moqi Xie & Zhang Jun with General Yuè Fēi in the middle, source:Wikipedia|