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Identification of Taoist Statue


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#1 hod

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 09:13 AM

Hi guys, it's been awhile. I'm just finally settling back down after a year of traveling the world.
 
But getting to the point. I bought a statue at the Golden Temple atop Wudang Shan. At first I thought was Guan Yu. But after looking closer, I realized he had his weapon in his left hand (I'm assuming Wudang Shan isn't selling Taiwanese criminal Guan Yus). He is also holding some sort of box - which I haven't seen Guan Yu do. So next I thought it might be Xuan Wu (Zhen Wu) because he is the patron of Wudang Shan - but he doesn't look anything like any of the pictures of Xuan Wu I have seen.
 
There is a four character inscription in the base of the statue, and I sent it to my buddy who lives in China and he told me that even his Chinese wife cannot decipher the first two characters, but said the last two character mean "celestial ruler".
 
So if anyone can help, it would be much appreciated.
 
 

WudangShanStatue.jpg

 WudangShanStatueInscription.jpg


  • soaring crane said thanks for this
“All energy flows according to the whims of the great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him.”

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#2 ChiDragon

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 11:28 AM

FYI You were right in the first place. He is Guan Yu or Quan Gong(關羽 or 關公).

The weapon(關刀) in his left hand is his symbol for killing all the bad guys. It was known that he will never kill a child, a woman or a good guy. Thus he was a man of justice.

The four characters are:
义炳乾坤: The righteousness lighten up Heaven and Earth.

义 is a simplified character for the traditional character 義(righteousness). This character is always used to signify the moral character of Guan Yu.


Edited by ChiDragon, 14 August 2014 - 11:36 AM.

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#3 hod

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 02:21 PM

Thanks ChiDragon. I wanted it to be Guan Yu - so I'm glad it is. And thanks for the translation of the characters. It always helps to know what things say :)


  • gendao and ChiDragon said thanks for this
“All energy flows according to the whims of the great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him.”

- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

 

"Just because you are whatever the f**k you are, doesn't mean you are whatever the f**k you think you are."

- Artie, Hurly Burly

 


#4 Zhongyongdaoist

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 03:40 PM

Hi guys, it's been awhile. I'm just finally settling back down after a year of traveling the world.
 
But getting to the point. I bought a statue at the Golden Temple atop Wudang Shan. At first I thought was Guan Yu. But after looking closer, I realized he had his weapon in his left hand (I'm assuming Wudang Shan isn't selling Taiwanese criminal Guan Yus). He is also holding some sort of box - which I haven't seen Guan Yu do. So next I thought it might be Xuan Wu (Zhen Wu) because he is the patron of Wudang Shan - but he doesn't look anything like any of the pictures of Xuan Wu I have seen.
 
There is a four character inscription in the base of the statue, and I sent it to my buddy who lives in China and he told me that even his Chinese wife cannot decipher the first two characters, but said the last two character mean "celestial ruler".
 
So if anyone can help, it would be much appreciated.
 

 

 

WudangShanStatue.jpg

 

You have a lovely statue and it is very interesting for reasons which I will get to in a moment, but first, Zhenwu's weapon is the Seven Star Sword of the Dipper, he would never be depicted with a weapon like this, anywhere, but especially on Wudang Shan.

 

As for the box it is his seal box and so you have his two major aspects represented here, first as is obvious, his warrior status, and then because of carrying his seal box, it is also his status as a patron of literature.  He is sometimes represented as reading the Spring and Autumn Annals and I have have lovely picture on glass which represents this, as Maspero notes, 'He is accompanied by his son, who carries his seal, and by his squire with halberd in hand.' (Henri Maspero, Taoism and Chinese Religion, University of Masschussets Press, 1981, p. 154-5)

 

So you are doubly blessed with this statue representing the highest martial valor as well the cultivation of learning which was a high ideal in Chinese Culture and the inspiration for such later figures as Wang Yangming.


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Donald
aka Zhongyongdaoist


'It is better for us that there should be difference of judgment, if we keep charity: but it is most unmanly to quarrel because we differ'

'Nothing spoils human Nature more, than false Zeal ... because I may be Mistaken, I must not be dogmatical and confident, peremptory and imperious. I will not break the certain Laws of Charity, for a doubtful Doctrine or of uncertain Truth'

'... I oppose not rational to spiritual; for spiritual is most rational: But I contradistinquish rational to conceited, impotent , affected CANTING ...'

All by Benjamin Whichcote, 17th Century English Theologian, quoted from Ernst Cassirer's The Platonic Renaissance in England, a much neglected book of Wisdom.

All of that said it remains true that:

Only the man of virtue knows whom to love and whom to hate. Confucius, Analects 4.3

#5 hod

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 10:05 AM

You have a lovely statue and it is very interesting for reasons which I will get to in a moment, but first, Zhenwu's weapon is the Seven Star Sword of the Dipper, he would never be depicted with a weapon like this, anywhere, but especially on Wudang Shan.

 

As for the box it is his seal box and so you have his two major aspects represented here, first as is obvious, his warrior status, and then because of carrying his seal box, it is also his status as a patron of literature.  He is sometimes represented as reading the Spring and Autumn Annals and I have have lovely picture on glass which represents this, as Maspero notes, 'He is accompanied by his son, who carries his seal, and by his squire with halberd in hand.' (Henri Maspero, Taoism and Chinese Religion, University of Masschussets Press, 1981, p. 154-5)

 

So you are doubly blessed with this statue representing the highest martial valor as well the cultivation of learning which was a high ideal in Chinese Culture and the inspiration for such later figures as Wang Yangming.

 

Thank you for the further description of what is going on in the statue. So you think it is Zhenwu and not Guan Yu?


“All energy flows according to the whims of the great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him.”

- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

 

"Just because you are whatever the f**k you are, doesn't mean you are whatever the f**k you think you are."

- Artie, Hurly Burly

 


#6 Zhongyongdaoist

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 06:39 AM

Thank you for the further description of what is going on in the statue. So you think it is Zhenwu and not Guan Yu?

 

I'm sorry if my dangling pronoun's were confusing.  It is definitely not Zhenwu, but Guanyu, but still a lucky purchase.


Donald
aka Zhongyongdaoist


'It is better for us that there should be difference of judgment, if we keep charity: but it is most unmanly to quarrel because we differ'

'Nothing spoils human Nature more, than false Zeal ... because I may be Mistaken, I must not be dogmatical and confident, peremptory and imperious. I will not break the certain Laws of Charity, for a doubtful Doctrine or of uncertain Truth'

'... I oppose not rational to spiritual; for spiritual is most rational: But I contradistinquish rational to conceited, impotent , affected CANTING ...'

All by Benjamin Whichcote, 17th Century English Theologian, quoted from Ernst Cassirer's The Platonic Renaissance in England, a much neglected book of Wisdom.

All of that said it remains true that:

Only the man of virtue knows whom to love and whom to hate. Confucius, Analects 4.3

#7 hod

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 07:09 AM

Ah, thanks for clearing that up. On another read, I understand what you were saying. Guan Yu would never be depicted on Wudang with Zhenwu's weapon.

 

I don't know if you know the answer to this Zhongyongdaoist, but why is this Guan Yu holding his weapon in his Left hand? I read that only Taiwanese gangster depict him holding his weapon in his left hand.


“All energy flows according to the whims of the great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him.”

- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

 

"Just because you are whatever the f**k you are, doesn't mean you are whatever the f**k you think you are."

- Artie, Hurly Burly

 


#8 Rocky Lionmouth

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 07:22 AM

Nice one! Remember to offer him wine and incense, he likes a little wine i've heard.
"Because he is speaking like a lion... loud and dominant but in a good way." - Nature Beeing

Non possumus facere laterem sine argilla.

#9 Zhongyongdaoist

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 07:54 AM

Nice one! Remember to offer him wine and incense, he likes a little wine i've heard.

 

Yes, the Martial deities tend to like their wine.

 

Ah, thanks for clearing that up. On another read, I understand what you were saying. Guan Yu would never be depicted on Wudang with Zhenwu's weapon.

 

I don't know if you know the answer to this Zhongyongdaoist, but why is this Guan Yu holding his weapon in his Left hand? I read that only Taiwanese gangster depict him holding his weapon in his left hand.

 

I could only speculate and don't have much time now, but it may be more complex than it seems. 

 

The remote ancestor of later gangsters are the secret societies that arose after the establishment of the Qing dynasty, a foreign dynasty that treated native Chinese in a way that, shall we say, naturally aroused great resentment, in order to restore the native Ming dynasty, in other words for patriotic reasons, and were naturally forced to do so outside of the system.  So the left or right handedness may have had a more noble origin then its current associations with Gangsterism might suggest and the statue could very well be a copy of an older one which predates these more modern usages.  Also the inclusion of the seal box also has a strong link link to the Confucian traditions, which particularly emphasized his role as the Scholar Warrior.


  • Rocky Lionmouth said thanks for this
Donald
aka Zhongyongdaoist


'It is better for us that there should be difference of judgment, if we keep charity: but it is most unmanly to quarrel because we differ'

'Nothing spoils human Nature more, than false Zeal ... because I may be Mistaken, I must not be dogmatical and confident, peremptory and imperious. I will not break the certain Laws of Charity, for a doubtful Doctrine or of uncertain Truth'

'... I oppose not rational to spiritual; for spiritual is most rational: But I contradistinquish rational to conceited, impotent , affected CANTING ...'

All by Benjamin Whichcote, 17th Century English Theologian, quoted from Ernst Cassirer's The Platonic Renaissance in England, a much neglected book of Wisdom.

All of that said it remains true that:

Only the man of virtue knows whom to love and whom to hate. Confucius, Analects 4.3

#10 hod

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 08:55 AM

That makes sense. You have me quite intriqued about this statue. I am going to look into it further.


“All energy flows according to the whims of the great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him.”

- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

 

"Just because you are whatever the f**k you are, doesn't mean you are whatever the f**k you think you are."

- Artie, Hurly Burly

 


#11 C T

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 12:36 PM

Fairly new movie on YT - The Lost Bladesman (in hd) - based on Guan Yu, if anyone's interested. Stars Donnie Yen. 

 


Edited by C T, 16 October 2014 - 12:36 PM.

Om svabhava shuddha sarva dharma svabhava shuddho 'ham!
Om shunyata jnana vajra svabhava atmako 'ham! 
Om ah hum hra phat!
Om muni muni mahamuni Shakyamuniye svaha! 
  
Appearances are mind, mind is emptiness, emptiness is spontaneous presence, spontaneous presence is self-liberation.
(9th Karmapa)
 

The objects perceived by sentient beings 

are like the appearance of illusions;

Sentient beings themselves are in the nature of illusion

they all arise through dependent origination. - Nagarjuna


#12 dust

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 01:24 PM

Donnie's my 5th favourite Chinese action guy...will check this out ^_^


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#13 C T

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 01:46 PM

Donnie's my 5th favourite Chinese action guy...will check this out ^_^

Yeah? Who would the other 4 be, and how would you rank them?  :) 

 

 

 

(pardon this little diversion please, OP) 


Om svabhava shuddha sarva dharma svabhava shuddho 'ham!
Om shunyata jnana vajra svabhava atmako 'ham! 
Om ah hum hra phat!
Om muni muni mahamuni Shakyamuniye svaha! 
  
Appearances are mind, mind is emptiness, emptiness is spontaneous presence, spontaneous presence is self-liberation.
(9th Karmapa)
 

The objects perceived by sentient beings 

are like the appearance of illusions;

Sentient beings themselves are in the nature of illusion

they all arise through dependent origination. - Nagarjuna


#14 Rocky Lionmouth

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 03:03 PM

I know a traditional feng shui master and he explained to me that the wine thing is only for taoist gods. Buddhist gods drink tea and water, absolutely no wine since buddhists cant drink wine, it'd be disrespectful. Giving a taoist deity water instead of wine can be considered being stingy or not properly respectful even.

Interesting theory on the lefthandedness thing, i've been thinking about the older roots of the secret societies also but my source is out of reach at the moment so i cant ask him either :/

Edited by Rocky Lionmouth, 16 October 2014 - 03:03 PM.

"Because he is speaking like a lion... loud and dominant but in a good way." - Nature Beeing

Non possumus facere laterem sine argilla.

#15 dust

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 03:31 PM

Yeah? Who would the other 4 be, and how would you rank them?  :) 

 

Haha, I wasn't sure if you'd bite. Actually, I was forgetting one or two perhaps, but (and I will probably catch shit for this)

 

Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Carter Wong, Bruce Lee

 

were the ones I was thinking of. In that order!

 

What about you?

 

(pardon this little diversion please, OP) 

:blush:


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#16 C T

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 05:12 PM

Haha, I wasn't sure if you'd bite. Actually, I was forgetting one or two perhaps, but (and I will probably catch shit for this)

 

Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Carter Wong, Bruce Lee

 

were the ones I was thinking of. In that order!

 

What about you?

 

:blush:

Ok ok, i bite!  :D

 

Lets see... when i was a kid, my first kung fu heroes were Wang Yu & David Chiang. 

 

Followed by Ti Lung, Chen Kuan Tai, yes, Carter Wong too... interest waned briefly only 

to be reignited when the iconic Bruce Lee appeared. After Bruce left, it was the trio of

Jackie, Sammo & Yuen Biao. Jet Li's pretty neat, but honestly, i like Wu Jing's style 

a lot, so it'd be a tie between him and Donnie for the top fav spot. 


  • dust said thanks for this

Om svabhava shuddha sarva dharma svabhava shuddho 'ham!
Om shunyata jnana vajra svabhava atmako 'ham! 
Om ah hum hra phat!
Om muni muni mahamuni Shakyamuniye svaha! 
  
Appearances are mind, mind is emptiness, emptiness is spontaneous presence, spontaneous presence is self-liberation.
(9th Karmapa)
 

The objects perceived by sentient beings 

are like the appearance of illusions;

Sentient beings themselves are in the nature of illusion

they all arise through dependent origination. - Nagarjuna





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