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The Main Archway
Also known as the Monkey King, is a mythological figure who features in a body of legends, which can be traced back to the period of the Song dynasty. He appears as a main character in the 16th century Chinese classical novel Journey to the West (西游记). Sun Wukong is also found in many later stories and adaptations. In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he later accompanies the monk Xuanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from "the West".
Mermaids are included in the Shanhaijing (Classic of Mountains and Seas) compilation of Chinese geography and mythology, dating from the 4th century BC. A 15th-century compilation of quotations from Chinese literature tells of a mermaid who "wept tears which became pearls".
Ten Courts of Hell
The realm of the dead or "hell" in Chinese mythology. It is loosely based on a combination of the Buddhist concept of Naraka, traditional Chinese beliefs about the afterlife and a variety of popular expansions and reinterpretations of these two traditions.
It is typically depicted as a subterranean maze with various levels and chambers, to which souls are taken after death to atone for the sins they committed when they were alive. The exact number of levels in Hell and their associated deities differ between Buddhist and Taoist interpretations. Some speak of three to four "courts"; others mention "Ten Courts of Hell", each of which is ruled by a judge (collectively known as the Ten Yama Kings); other Chinese legends speak of the "Eighteen Levels of Hell". Each court deals with a different aspect of atonement and different punishments; most legends claim that sinners are subjected to gruesome tortures until their "deaths", after which they are restored to their original state for the torture to be repeated.
A memorial dedicated to the Aw brothers' parents
Horse-Face & Ox-Head
The two guardians or types of guardians of the Underworld in Chinese mythology. As indicated by their names, both have the bodies of men, but Ox-Head has the head of an ox while Horse-Face has the face of a horse. They are the first beings a dead soul encounters upon entering the Underworld; in many stories they directly escort the newly dead to the Underworld.
Budai, Hotei or Pu-Tai (Chinese and Japanese: 布袋; pinyin: Bùdài; rōmaji: Hotei; Vietnamese: Bố Đại) is a Chinese folkloric deity. His name means "Cloth Sack", and comes from the bag that he is conventionally depicted as carrying. He is usually identified with or seen as an incarnation of Maitreya, the future Buddha, so much so that the Budai image is one of the main forms in which Maitreya is depicted in China. He is almost always shown smiling or laughing, hence his nickname in Chinese, the Laughing Buddha (Chinese: 笑佛; pinyin: Xiào Fó).
Guanyin or Guan Yin is an East Asian bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by Mahayana Buddhists. She is commonly known as the "Goddess of Mercy" in English and Gayatri in Hindi. The Chinese name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, meaning "[The One Who] Perceives the Sounds of the World".
Vices & Virtues