Tales of Fu Luk Shou: Three Chinese Deities

Fu, Lu Shou (Chinese Mandarin ) , Fuk Luk Shou ( Cantonese language)or Hok Lok Siu ( Hokkien language)  are three gods that are sometimes collectively called the “Three Star”, “San Xing” or “Good Luck Deities” with the meaning of blessings, prosperity and longevity. For this reason, it is clear that why these one are a very popular symbol to display in Chinese homes, offices or even business establishments.

My first encounter with these deities was during my childhood days. One Filipino-Chinese neighbor had a three piece set of the Fu Lu Shou  . They are normally placed in living rooms, entrance and on eye level.

San Xing deities were around 20 inches tall and probably bought from Taiwan or mainland China. I would sometimes recall that they would sometimes put small offering on the deities whenever it was a special day. Spotted some San Xing deities last holy week during a short tour on Pasay City.

Where to Place the Fu Luk Shou Deities

According to Feng Shui experts and believers , It is thought to be disrespectful and unlucky to place the deities on low surfaces such as kitchen, bathroom or even bedroom. Do not place the deities on windows and area with low beams.

Daily incense burning candles offering  fresh or artificial flowers are usually offered to these three wise men in hope of them bestowing their gifts on humans.

Some would create a separate altar for these three minor deities.

Origin

Three Lucky Gods in Chinese mythology or in Chinese Taoism.

Fu Xing

The star of Fu Xing is dedicated to Jupiter which is considered very auspicious. The legend tells a story of a government official named Xang Cheng and served at the prefecture of Daozhou during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and had the personal name Yang Gong  or Xang Cheng.

He lived in a village inhabited by midgets or small people in which the emperor discovered this village and was truly fascinated when he visited the place.

The emperor found it too much trouble to revisit the village. Instead he ordered steady groups of short people be sent to his palace every year. These villagers were not allowed to return home.

Xang Cheng took pity on the villagers. He did something brave and almost unthinkable. With great confidence Xang Cheng approached the emperor and pleaded him to stop taking the little people from their homes. He wrote a convincing petition which he then handed loved to the emperor.

Eventually he was immortalized as Fu Xing. Star god of happiness, prosperity and good fortune. Fu is the bringer of good luck.

Lu Xing

Lu is dedicated to the sixth star of the Wen Chang cluster, in the West known as Ursa Majoris. Lu refers to salary and thus he is the star god of social status.

There are different legends or folklore concerning who Lu Xing originally was. One legend is that he was Kuo Tzu-I also known as the Prince of Fen-yang Wang. He was one of the most honored Chinese generals. He died in 781 AD at the age of 84.

Another account was the God of Status is identified with Immortal Zhang  who was probably the same person as Zhang Yuanxiao who lived in Sichuan during the Five Dynasties period  (907-960), lived on Mt. Qingcheng .

In another account, He used to represent a former wise men or a person with imperial background and benevolent.

Shou Xing

Shou Xing is easy to recognize with his long forehead. He carries the peach of longevity and a staff.

Legend has it that Shou Xing has the power to fix the date of every person’s death. He decides beforehand how long every human will live. The digits cannot be changed but they can be tampered with as one story shows.

Photo credit : Mr. Edgardo Gamo Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese Figurines Spotted at a Garage Sale

We spotted a garage sale last April 15 Good Friday while having a walking tour and Visita Iglesia near Taft Avenue within Pasay City .  The owner was offering a complete set of encyclopedia worth Php 500 for the entire set . We just looked at the copyright of the encyclopedia that was printed around mid-1950’s.  It would also be impossible for us to bring those items . She offered some Php 5.00 old Marcos era coins ( i think she got over 20 pieces from her grandmother) But we did not bought any coins. She was selling them for just Php 20.00 per piece but she can give them all for just Php 10.00 if we are going to get all of them ( pakyawan) at around Php 200.00.

The owner again offered us a laughing Buddha figurine for about Php 50 , however we are not that interested with the item.  Aside of being bulky, the figurine had some chip marks and missing some details.

She again offered a couple of Chinese and Buddhist figurines for about Php 350 for the entire lot . It was a collection of her late grandmother , who just recently died . Taking a second look , I manage to haggle the price to a more reasonable price of just Php 200 for the entire lot .

figurines

This is with 4 strands of crystal beads ( made of plastics) around the orange -colored Guan Yin Ma deity ( far right ) four plastic Sanxing or Fuk Luk Sau deities , one Sacred Heart of Jesus ( made of metal and Italy ) , a small laughing Buddha – made of plaster , a seated female deity ( probably made of plastic ) and another set of Fuk Luk Sau/ Fu Lu Shou deities carved from round stones and old bearded wise men ( probably made from high grade resin ) .

San Xing Deities or Fu Lu Shou  ( Mandarin) or Fuk Luk Sau ( Cantonese )

Fuk / Fu  is an old wise man often depicted holding either a scroll, or a child. There is a popular belief that Fuk is the personification of planet Jupiter, with all its associated energy of goof luck  and auspiciousness. The child is there to symbolize the transmission of this good luck to future generations. The scroll connoted value of learning or education. ( normally put in left side )

Luk/ Lu character in imperial China was official’s salary. It goes without saying that the energy of it is stability, fame and success, as well as financial abundance. Luk is often depicted holding either a ru yi symbol of power and authority, or a golden ingot, a popular wealth or financial symbol . ( normally at the center )

Sau / Shou means longevity. This is the wise old man that is usually depicted with a very high forehead and a warm smile on his face.

These items are normally not worship but are symbol of fortune, prosperity and health. They are normally given a special place in one houses or establishment . Some providing them separate altars and place.

For more information about the meaning Fu Lu Shou. We think that it was a bargain of the day.

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