Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Journey to the West (Stories from the Stones)

There are many stories on Monkey King (Sun Wukong), the mythological monkey who came to possessed a weapon such as a 8,000 kg rod that can be shrunk to the size of a needle and whose great fighting skills include those that allows himself to be cloned using his hair, transform into other beings and to travel great distances by doing somersault. His power and quest for recognition as a powerful God led to many battles against the Jade Emperor and the heavenly army. The rebellion against the Heavens was finally "squashed" literally with the intervention of Buddha trapping Monkey God under a mountain which became his prison for 500 years. Guanyin (观音 ) in search of a bodyguard to protect a monk (Tang Sanzang) whose mission was to make a treacherous Journey to the West to retrieve Buddhist sutras. Long story short, Monkey King did a good job in overcoming all the tribulations together with his companions and thus eventually was atoned for his sins.

The four protagonists, seen to be standing on higher ground on the stone carving from left to right: Sun Wukong (Monkey King), Zhu Bajie (Pigsy), Tang Sanzang and Sha Wujing (Sandy). Monkey King can be seen with a fan in his hand (from the story where he "borrowed" the fan of Princess Iron Fan to extinguish the flames of Flaming Mountain, so that the four can proceed on their Journey to the West).  The possible antagonists on the left of stone  carvings could possibly be demons they fought in their journey. I am not an expert in this, but i am guessing its Bull Demon King (牛魔王) and his associates in a battle to gain back ownership of the fan.

From the tomb of Chua Soon Leong.
Other stone carvings include:
Hua Tuo heals General Guan Yu

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