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The God of Literature


Confucianism has in its pantheon the specialized gods worshipped by the literati. Naturally the chief of these is Wên Ch’ang, the God of Literature. 

Wên Ch’ang is clothed in blue and holding a sceptre in his left hand. Behind him stand two youthful attendants. They are the servant and groom who always accompany him on his journeys. They are ‘Deaf as Heaven’ and ‘Mute as Earth.’ Thus they cannot divulge the secrets of their master’s administration as he distributes intellectual gifts, literary skill, etc.

In front of Wên Ch’ang, on his left, stands the Star of K’uei. He is represented as of diminutive stature, with the visage of a demon, holding a writing-brush in his right hand and a tou in his left, one of his legs kicking up behind.

The other is dedicated to Chu I, ‘Mr Redcoat.’ He and K’uei Hsing are represented as the two inseparable companions of the God of Literature.

Chu I is sometimes accompanied by another personage, named Chin Chia, ‘Mr Golden Cuirass.’ he holds a flag, which he has only to wave in front of a house for the family inhabiting it to be assured that among their descendants will be some who will win literary honours and be promoted to high offices under the State.
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