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Home  |  Gods   |  Asian Gods   |  Chinese Gods   |  Erlang Shen : God of Decency

Erlang Shen : God of Decency

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At a glance

Description
Origin Chinese Mythology
Classification Gods
Family Members Jade Emperor (Uncle)
Region China
Associated With Strength, Martial Arts

Erlang Shen

Introduction

Erlang Shen, known as the “Second Lad God” in literal translation, holds a revered status in Chinese mythology, celebrated for his resolute adherence to justice, formidable strength, and steadfast loyalty. Adorned with a powerful third eye and wielding a double-edged spear, his iconic image has graced temples, operas, and literary works for generations, captivating hearts and minds as a quintessential symbol of righteousness. Revered under titles like the “Divine Erlang” or “Erlang God,” he is a beloved deity in Chinese folklore, renowned for his warrior prowess and extraordinary powers, prominently featured in the timeless Chinese epic, “Journey to the West.”

Physical Traits

In artistic depictions, Erlang Shen is commonly portrayed as a striking young man adorned with a distinctive third eye at the center of his forehead, often referred to as the “Truth-Seeing Eye.” This unique feature grants him the ability to perceive the true essence of all things. Clad in traditional Chinese armor, he exudes the aura of a seasoned warrior, wielding his renowned three-pointed vane spear with mastery. His ornate armor symbolizes his esteemed status in combat, while his iconic double-edged spear, known as the “Third Pointed Two-Edged Saber,” further emphasizes his prowess on the battlefield. Accompanying him on his ventures is his faithful companion Xiaotianquan, a six-legged hound whose unwavering loyalty adds depth to Erlang Shen’s character and adventures.

Family

Erlang Shen’s lineage is steeped in myth and legend, with various accounts attributing different parentages to him. According to one belief, he is believed to be the nephew of the Jade Emperor, the esteemed ruler of Heaven in Chinese mythology. Another tale suggests that his father was a mortal man who attained immortality through dedicated Taoist practices. Accompanying him on his celestial journeys is his faithful companion, a celestial dog endowed with the ability to subdue malevolent spirits.

In popular folklore, Erlang Shen’s parentage is subject to interpretation. In one narrative, he is depicted as the offspring of a mortal man and a banished celestial maiden, while in another, he is portrayed as the second son of Vaishravana, the Northern Heavenly King in the Buddhist pantheon. Despite the varying accounts of his origins, Erlang Shen’s allegiance remains steadfastly aligned with the Jade Emperor, whom he serves as a stalwart defender of celestial order and justice.

Other names

Erlang Shen is recognized by numerous alternative names, each highlighting different aspects of his character and achievements. Among these appellations are “Yang Jian” and “The Mighty Magic Warrior,” which underscore his heroic exploits and extraordinary powers. Additionally, he is also referred to as the “Lord of Sichuan,” indicative of his association with the Sichuan province, and the “Divine Immortal of Purity and Decency,” emphasizing his unwavering moral fortitude and integrity. These various titles collectively celebrate Erlang Shen’s multifaceted persona and revered status in Chinese mythology.

Powers and Abilities

Erlang Shen’s prowess in combat is unmatched, boasting immense strength and martial skills that have solidified his reputation as a formidable warrior. With his iconic third eye, he possesses the extraordinary ability to pierce through illusions and deceit, discerning the truth amidst falsehoods. Moreover, Erlang Shen’s mastery extends to the art of shape-shifting, elemental manipulation, and the casting of potent spells, showcasing a diverse array of supernatural talents.

Among his legendary feats, perhaps the most renowned is his capture of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, a testament to Erlang Shen’s unparalleled power and cunning. His exceptional strength is exemplified by his capability to cleave mountains with a single strike, while his remarkable agility allows him to execute 72 (or 73) transformations, assuming the guise of any creature imaginable. The clairvoyant prowess bestowed by his third eye further enhances his abilities, enabling him to penetrate illusions and unveil the true essence of phenomena.

Additionally, Erlang Shen is accompanied by his loyal companion, Xiaotianquan, whose remarkable speed and acute sense of smell complement Erlang Shen’s skills, further bolstering their effectiveness as a formidable duo. Together, these extraordinary abilities and companions underscore Erlang Shen’s status as a legendary figure in Chinese mythology, revered for his indomitable spirit and unmatched prowess in battle.

Modern Day Influence

Erlang Shen’s enduring influence transcends the bounds of ancient mythology, resonating powerfully in contemporary culture. Renowned for his portrayal in Chinese literature, television, and cinema, especially in adaptations of the iconic epic “Journey to the West,” Erlang Shen remains a beloved character whose image adorns countless Chinese temples.

As a revered deity, he is venerated for his role as a guardian against malevolence and a champion of justice, his presence symbolizing protection and righteousness. Beyond traditional media, Erlang Shen continues to captivate audiences through video games, animations, and modern literature, reimagined to suit the tastes of new generations.

Central to Erlang Shen’s enduring appeal are the timeless virtues he embodies—justice, loyalty, and unyielding determination—which strike a chord with contemporary audiences. His character serves as an enduring beacon of inspiration, his stories serving as reminders of the enduring power of integrity and fortitude in the face of adversity. In this way, Erlang Shen’s legacy remains as relevant and impactful today as it has been throughout the ages.

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Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.
Disclaimer: While it is the intention of Mythlok and its editors to keep all the information about various characters as mythologically accurate as possible, this site should not be considered mythical, legendary or folkloric doctrine in any way. We welcome you using this website for any research, journal or study but citing this website for any academic work would be at your own personal risk.