Bringing Rain and Protection

Barend J. ter Haar

in Guan Yu

Published in print October 2017 | ISBN: 9780198803645
Published online October 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191842030 | DOI:
Bringing Rain and Protection

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  • Asian History
  • History of Religion


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Deities were thought to help and protect people, heal them from illnesses, and sometimes also to punish them. And yet, a worshipper was not free to decide what to ask for, but had to work within a collectively created and transmitted paradigm of expectations of the deity. In Northern China, Lord Guan was often requested to provide rain, and everywhere he was asked to assist in the fight against demons and other types of outsiders (barbarians, rebels, or otherwise), or even appeared of his own accord to do so. From the early seventeenth century onwards, Guan Yu was seen as the incarnation of a dragon executed at the command of the Jade Emperor for bringing rain out of compassion to a local community sentenced to extinction by the supreme deity. Finally, his loyal image inspired his rise as a God of Wealth in the course of the eighteenth century.

Keywords: Lord Guan; God of Wealth; miracles; folktales; illness; rain; demons; barbarians; rebels; Jade Emperor

Chapter.  21190 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History ; History of Religion

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