Fine Bronze Figure Zhen Wu

China, Ming Dynasty, 16th century
High 17 cm.

Fine Bronze Figure Zhen Wu, seated in European fashion on a stepped, throne with to the front the tortoise encompassed by the coiling snake. His right arm in a mudra while the left rests on his upper leg. Wearing wide-sleeved mantle secured with a broad belt, falling in large pleats over the legs revealing his naked feet. His face displaying a sever expression with slit eyes below arched eyebrows that run into the nose-bridge and his hair combed backwards.

  • Xuánwǔ (玄武 “Dark Warrior” or “Mysterious Warrior”) or Xuándì (玄帝 “Dark Deity”), also known as Zhēnwǔ (真武) or Zhēnwǔdàdì (真武大帝 “True Warrior Great Deity”), is a deity in Chinese religion, and one of the higher-ranking deities in Taoism. He is revered as a powerful god, able to control the elements and capable of great magic. He is identified as the god of the north Hēidì (黑帝 “Black Deity”) and is particularly revered by martial artists. He is the patron deity of Hebei, Manchuria and Mongolia. As some Cantonese and Southern Min speakers (particularly Hokkien) fled into the south from Hebei with the Song dynasty, Xuanwu is also widely revered in Fujian and Guangdong as well as among the Chinese diaspora.

Since the usurping Yongle Emperor of the Ming dynasty claimed the help of Xuanwu during his successful Jingnan Campaign against his nephew, he had Taoist monasteries constructed in the Wudang Mountains of Hubei, where Xuanwu allegedly attained immortality.

The Original Story

One story says that Xuanwu was originally a prince of Jing Le State in northern Hebei during the time of the Yellow Emperor. As he grew up, he felt the sorrow and pain of the life of ordinary people and wanted to retire to a remote mountain for cultivation of the Tao.

  • From Wikipedia

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