Material Information

Series Title:
Preliminary list of Chinese woodblock prints in the SOAS Library
Added title page title:
Wu menshen
Added title page title:
Pair of military door gods
Chen Maoji, illustrator ( contributor )
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:
Paper, Water color inks ( medium )
71 x 35 cm in


Subjects / Keywords:
Door gods
Horses ( lcsh )
Swords ( lcsh )
Flags ( lcsh )
Bodyguards ( lcsh )
門 神
门 神
Woodblock Print
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- China -- Shanghai -- Shanghai
亞洲 -- 中國 -- 上海 -- 上海市
亚洲 -- 中国 -- 上海 -- 上海市
31.2 x 121.5


General Note:
The origin of the door god custom goes back to the Tang dynasty emperor Taizong (r. 627-650). Once the emperor fell sick and was troubled by nightmares imagining that ghosts or demons were in his bedchamber. After summoning palace attendants and the ministers of state, two loyal generals Qin Shubao and Yuchi Jingde agreed to stay the night to keep watch. Finally the emperor slept peacefully and recovered. Although he could now dispense with their services he still had their portraits painted to be posted up in their place. In later years many other figures were used as door gods but usually Qin Shubao can be recognised by his white-pinkish face and Yuchi Jingde by his red face. (See prints numbers 99 and 100) According to yet another story going back to remote antiquity two brothers Shentu and Yulei had the power to bind evil spirits and feed them to the tigers. Thus they were also used as guardians of doorways. When hung on the main front doors facing the street these pictures turned into a powerful talisman against evil spirits. This print in particular shows the door gods standing in majestic benevolence dressed in a military outfit while also accompanied by an entourage of five attendants bearing auspicious gifts as well as a unicorn bearing a son.
General Note:
Published reference in: Preliminary list of Chinese woodblock prints in the SOAS Library
General Note:
Creative Commons (CC)-Lizenzen: Namensnennung-NichtKommerziell unter gleichen Bedingungen 4.0 international (CC BY-NC). Dieses Bild ist als in hoher Auflösung zur Verfügung. Kontaktieren Sie den Digital Library Project Office an der SOAS, University of London.
General Note:
Cette ressource numérique est dans le domaine public. S'il vous plaît, utiliser en accord avec la licence Creative Commons: Attribution-Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale conditions (CC BY-NC). Fichiers numériques de haute résolution sont disponibles sur la SOAS, Université de Londres - le Bureau du projet de bibliothèque numérique.
General Note:
Inked in five colours (red, yellow, purple, blue-green and black)

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS, University of London
Rights Management:
This item is in the public domain. Please use in accord with Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC). High resolution digital master available from SOAS, University of London - the Digital Library Project Office.
Resource Identifier:
CWP 4b ( accession number (preliminary list of chinese woodblock prints in the soas library) )