::every cloud has a silver lining:: @ ::天無絕人之路 ~:~ 明天會更好:: @ ::tiān wú jué rén zhīlù ~:~ míngtiān huì gènghǎo:: @ ::天無絕人之路 ~:~ 明天會更好:: @ ::tiān wú jué rén zhīlù ~:~ míngtiān huì gènghǎo:: @ ::every cloud has a silver lining::


Sep 15, 2013

இ 貼錯門神 Door gods

At last the scary hungry ghost month is finally over good bye to the Do's & Don'ts and good riddance no more of those eerie and horror movies aired over  television. The ghost busters can now take a break as well as the 'Door Gods' 門神 after the closure of the Hell Gate couple of days ago. Wait a minute, could sense someone saying "heard of door knobs and door knockers before, huh what door also got gods?"

Image courtesy of TwilightZone

A 'door god' 門神 pinyin:*mén shén* is a Chinese decoration placed on each side of an entry to a temple, home, business, etc., which is believed to keep evil spirits and ghosts from entering. It all began during the Tang dynasty, when the East Water Dragon King (東海龍王) *dōng hǎi lóng wáng* came into Emperor Táng Tàizōng's (唐太宗) dream, begging for mercy to save his life as he has flouted a decree of Heaven by changing the time of the rain and reducing the amount. The Jade Emperor had ordered the execution and Wei Zheng (魏徵), Chancellor of the Tang Dynasty was assigned by Heaven to carry out the execution. On the day of the execution Emperor Tang summons Wei Zheng for a game of Go (圍棋) pinyin:*wéiqí* an hour just before the execution but not knowing Wei Zheng's soul left his body when he took a short nap during the game and ordered the execution. Despite of all his effort Emperor Tang failed to prevent the beheading of the East Water Dragon King, who misunderstood Emperor Tang did not keep up to his promise, seek revenge by haunting Emperor Tang. When Qin Qiong (秦瓊) and Yuchi Gong (尉遲恭) were called to guard the emperor's door, the emperor had a blissful sleep. The next day, the emperor, not wanting to trouble his two generals, gave orders to hang portraits of the two generals on both sides of his door. Pretty soon ordinary families adopted the imperial custom with portraits of the ever-vigilant generals on their front doors to keep away evil spirits and ghosts and to have good luck. 

image courtesy of cultural china

Special care must be taken as not to place the 'door gods' in the opposite direction. The door gods usually come in pairs, facing each other; on the left should be the portrait of Qin Qiong and Yuchi Gong's portrait to be on the right. What if they are placed wrongly probably the ghosts and evil spirits would have a hell of a swinging time as the two generals are unable to coordinate in guarding the entrance. Moreover it is considered bad luck to place the figures back-to-back. Now this brings us to a related Chinese idiom of 貼錯門神 pinyin: *tiē cuò mén shén* 'stick wrong door gods' ie not facing each other and in a back-to-back position. This applies to two persons after a heated argument cannot see eye to eye with each other and most definitely not in talking terms for days or weeks with the so called 'silent war' especially very common between couples. Here is a classic example of a 'silent war' by blogger fayjesselton who was sulking like a monster when 貼錯門神.

image courtesy of MadameNoire
Back-to-back door gods

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