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Door Gods of China


In China, what you see two portraits of two men with thick brows and hair posting on doors, is exactly door gods.


In the past, people believed that posting door god could keep evil spirits away and bring back peace and luck. Door gods were even included into gods worshipped by Taoists, who would perform sacrificial rituals in honor of them.



The earliest door gods were two "peach figures" cut out of peach wood believed to be the incarnations of Shen Tu and Yu Lei. Shen Tu and Yu Lei were two divine gods guarding the door of hell, responsible for capturing evil ghosts harming people. Once they found such a ghost, they would truss it up with ropes made of reed and then throw the ghost off the mountain to feed tigers. This belief had been around for quite a long time.


On the eve of Chinese New Year, people would post pictures of the two gods and tigers on doors and would hang up some peach tree branches, peach figures and reed ropes to keep ghosts from entering. The peach had long been a plant worshipped by people, who believed that a peach tree had the power to drive away evil spirits and ward off disaster, because it was regarded as a symbol of longevity for its high yields.


In the Tang Dynasty, another door god named Zhong Kui, an excellent ghost catcher, became popular. His image is a fierce man with a messy beard, wide-open eyes, a hook nose and bell-like ears. He is wearing a black gauze cap, black court shoes and a red robe, holding a sword in his right hand and seizing a ghost in his left.

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