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W460 X H420mm, China

This pair of Door Gods are Qin Qiong (left) and Wei Chi Gong (right).

Do you know how this famous pair got to become the Door Gods?
Here is how the story goes; one fine day during the Tang dynasty an old dragon made a bet with a fortune teller and for this he violated the law of the heaven.  As a punishment ,the supreme god Jade Emperor ordered Wei Zheng to have it killed at noon the next day.   Hearing the news, the old dragon went to see the Tang Emperor and begged him to help him, the Tang Emperor agreed.  The next day the Tang Emperor summon Wei Zheng to court and asked him to play a game of Chinese chess with him, hoping that if the game is long enough he will miss the noon execution.  During the long game Wei Zheng dosed off and in his dream he went to kill the dragon.  Not knowing the whole story,  the ghost of the dragon felt bitter that the Tang Emperor did not keep his words and came to haunt the court everyday.  Wei Zheng found out and send 2 generals, Qin Qiong and Wei Chi Gong, to guard the gate of the palace and this scared off the dragon.  The Tang Emperor felt bad that the 2 generals do not get a break and asked artists to make a painting of them to be put on the doors, and this seems to have the same effects, the rumor spread and now the door gods are all over China.

This print is from the Tao Hua Wu school which specializes in book illustration since the Sung dynasty, it has very fine lines and spectrum of colour (each colour would require an additional printing block).  Click here to see another print of the same two character by a different print maker, school of Zhuxian, which are characterized by bolder lines, vivid colours and more dramatic composition.

Come to see the actual print and many others at the
New Year Print Exhibition

MOUNTAIN FOLKCRAFT
CHINESE WOOD BLOCK PRINT COLLECTION

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