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by Micha F. Lindemans
The two gods in syncretistic Chinese folk religion who guard the double doorway of a domestic dwelling or public building. The Men-shen, literally "gods of the doorway", are believed to have been two generals from the Tang Dynasty, namely Qin Shu-bao and Hu Jing-de. They have been venerated since the 13th or 14th century. The back door is guarded by the less popular Wei Ch'eng.

They are equipped with bows and arrows and magical symbols with which they avert evil spirits. According to legend, they also defended the 6th emperor against attacking demons while he was asleep. The Men-shen appear as protectors in many folktales.

The deities are portrayed as two men with terrifying facial expressions, in military uniform and/or armor and armed with a rapier or halberd. Affixed to their shoulders are tiny banners to signify their rank.

The name of the Men-shen in traditional Chinese format.
The name of the Men-shen in traditional Chinese format.

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