Fu Lu Shou - Happiness, Prosperity and Longevity
Fu Lu Shou or the Three Sages of Good Fortune is one of the most well known Chinese proverbs or sayings. It is a favourite motif in Chinese art and is present in every Asian household, in the form of inscriptions or as statues of the 3 Sages. They are powerful symbols that will bring good fortune to the household.
The three sages are namely:
They are often depicted in from left to right, with The God of Longevity standing on the left, The God of Prosperity in the middle and lastly, The God of Happiness on the right. The God of Prosperity is usually a head taller than the rest. Besides that, not only can each god be recognised in where he stands, but also with the accompaniments he carries.
The chinese character "fu" means good fortune, blessings, happiness. It denotes being happy as the result of being lucky. The character is prominently displayed on doors, often upside-down, as "turn upside-down" and a word meaning "arrive" are similar in pronounciation; in other words, to say "luck upside-down" sounds like "luck is coming."
In this website, you will discover more information regarding Fu Xing.
Fu Xing - God of Happiness
Fu is one of the most common symbols in Chinese literature. “Fu” represents Happiness and Good Fortune and is commonly found in all Chinese households and businesses. Symbols of Fu promote Happiness and Good Fortune for it occupants and owners. It is also the symbol found on the little red “ang bao” given as gifts to children during Chinese New Year.
Fu is most frequently portrayed in the blue clothes of a civil servant and in the company of children. According to legend the God of Happiness is endowed upon Governor Yang Cheng of the village of Dazhou, who lived in the 6th century.
Fu Xing is generally shown as a court official with a characteristically "winged" hat, and often holding a scepter. He had been Yang Cheng, governor of Dazhou in Hunan. The emperor of his day found midgets amusing, and often conscripted them from Dazhou. When Yang Cheng learned that the midgets were unhappy to be taken away from their families, he stood up to the emperor, who abolished the practice. Thus Yang became immortalized as one who brings blessings and happiness.
The village of Dazhou were very musically talented. Their abilities were so profound, that every year the Emperor would summon a large group of midget children to live at the palace and entertain him and the Imperial Court. When Yang Cheng first arrived in Dazhou, he disguised himself as a civil servant and made an inspection of the village.
The villagers were deeply saddened that they had been forced to part with their sons and daughters. Yang Cheng was shocked. He was caught unaware of the happenings in the village. The situation worsened when Yang Cheng received an order from the Imperial Court for more midgets to brought to the palace. The Emperor was greatly entertained by his subjects and asked for younger midgets of 10 years old and below to be sent.
Yang Cheng was deeply grieved when he ordered his men to gather more midgets for the Emperor. The villagers were reluctant to carry out his commands, however, disobedience to the Emperor was punishable by death. After the children were gathered, Yang Cheng visited his subjects, but he was confronted with grief and despair. He wept for his people as he was the one who was forcing them to give up their children.
The villagers of Dazhou were grieving for the lost of their children and living in constant fear that more of their children would be taken. As a result, Yang Cheng could not slept as he in his dreams he could hear his people crying and could not bear to see more children being taken away from their parents. Something had to be done as the Emperor's orders were causing great hardship for the people of Dazhou.
Yang Cheng knew that as governor, he could not let the people go on suffering. Therefore, he must find a way of helping them, however, at the same time he knew that he was defying Imperial orders and that his life would also be at stake. Yang Cheng settled down and began to write a petition.
"By our laws, the people in Dao-Zhou, though short, are not slaves. It is for this reason that I cannot present them to You Majesty as gifts. What joy, Your Majesty, could you possibly derive from watching them play and dance? If you allow them to be reunited with their families, you loyal subjects would be forever indebted to you"
On receiving Yang Cheng's petition the Imperial officials were infuriated. They immediately recommended that Yang Cheng be beheaded for being insolent and disobedient to the Emperor.
The Emperor was not so affronted by the petition. He silenced the Imperial officials and thought about what Yang Cheng had written. The points that Yang Cheng raised were not unreasonable and the Emperor realised that that this practise had to stop. He order the children to be sent back immediately and issued an Imperial decree that "no midgets need be sent to the palace from this day onwards. May the Emperor's subjects continue to live in peace and prosperity.
On hearing the news, the people of Dao-Zhou rejoiced in celebrations and paid homage to their governor for risking his life to bring happiness and good fortune to them and their children. From that point Yang Cheng was highly revered in his prefecture and other surrounding villages as news spread of what he had done to bring happiness and good fortune to his village. Yang Cheng passed away some years later. After his death a large portrait of him was drawn in the village and the people began to worship him as a god who brought happiness and good fortune to mankind.
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God of Happiness - Fu Xing