Exorcism and Money: The Symbolic World of the Five-Fury Spirits in Late Imperial China

By Qitao Guo | Go to book overview

5
The New Identities
of Wuchang

Popular Wuchang symbolism in Huizhou, as in Guangde, was fundamentally about the exorcism of evil ghosts. And here, too, Wuchang was placed at the bottom of local pantheons and functioned to enhance the tutelary deity of the local community or lineage. But where Zhang Bo was a deified figure in Guangde, in Huizhou he was naturally overshadowed by other heroes who had made great contributions to the Huizhou region in previous times—deified figures such as Wang Hua

and Zhang Xun .1 The similar mechanism of ji er mingzhi made these famous Huizhou heroes anthropomorphic proxies for the city and earth gods who headed Huizhou local pantheons and presided over Huizhou exorcism rites. More significantly, Huizhou merchants adopted the deities

1. Zhang Bo continued to be worshipped in Huizhou through the Qing and after. The King Zhang temple in Shexian, for instance, is mentioned in SXZ (pp. 231–232) immediately after temples for worshipping Wang Hua, Liu Meng

, and Zhang Xun. Evidence indicates that Wang Hua became the primary deity in a Huizhou Guanghui (Cishan) temple, (Cheng Ting, Chunfan jicheng, 2a). More interestingly, HZZ (1566 ed., 10.10b) mentions five “King Zhang temples” (Zhangwang miao ), devoted to worshipping the god Guangde Cishan, in Qimen county alone. QXZ (1873 ed., p. 314) also mentions five King Zhang temples and a new one, most of which were in the same locations as indicated in HZZ. But the QXZ editors clearly indicate that the primary god for these temples was Zhang Xun, not Zhang Bo. Could this have been a result of this locality’s ji er mingzhi strategy, or could it be that the QXZ editors have mistaken the primary god worshipped in those King Zhang temples in the late Qing? If the latter is the case, this mistake reflects the popularity of Zhang Xun in Qimen; it indicates that Zhang Xun had overshadowed Zhang Bo. Nevertheless, in Huizhou, Zhang Xun was indeed also called “King Zhang” (JXZ, p. 139).

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