door gods

"Putting up or changing door gods (门神) is an important custom among the Chinese during Spring (春节 New Year) Festival. Door gods are pictures of deities posted on the door outside and inside the house. They are expected to keep ghosts away, protect the family and bring peace and good fortune. (...) A typical Chinese house has a huge front gate/door with two wings that open in the middle. The door gods always come in pairs facing each other. It is considered bad luck to place the figures back-to-back."

In modern times, the gods have been replaced by more updated images: peasants, soldiers, children, etc. All are intended to integrate the protective aspects of the traditional door gods with more foreward looking elements. As these images continue to be published, we must assume they still strike a chord with the population.

Sources

"Door Gods for Chinese New Year", VisitBeijing.com.cn, 16 February 2018

Wang Shucun (ed.), Ancient Chinese Woodblock New Year Prints (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1985)

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