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Guan YuThe Religious Afterlife of a Failed Hero$
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Barend J. ter Haar

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803645.001.0001

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Bringing Rain and Protection

Bringing Rain and Protection

(p.152) 6 Bringing Rain and Protection
Guan Yu

Barend J. ter Haar

Oxford University Press

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

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