Monday, September 22, 2008

Village gods in Taoism

In Taoism, the God of Village have developed from land worship. Before Gods of Towns dominated in China, land worship had a hierarchy of deities conforming strictly to social structure, in which the emperor, kings, dukes, officials and common people were allowed to worship only the land gods within their command; the highest land deity was the Earthly Queen of the Four Imperial Ones. Ranked lower than Town gods, the God of Village have been very popular among villagers as the grassroot deities since the 14th century during the Ming Dynasty. Some scholars speculate that this change came because of a royal edict, because it is reported that the first emperor of the Ming dynasty was born in a Village God shrine. The image of the Village God is that of a simply clothed, smiling, white-bearded man. His wife, the Grandma of the Village, looks like any old lady who lives next door.

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