Menshen or door gods are divine guardians of doors and gates in Chinese folk religions, used to protect against evil influences or to encourage the entrance of positive ones.
门神 (mén shén)
Chinese folk religion includes various types of gods, as well as revered historical figures (either real or legendary.)
One type is Door Gods. As the name implies, paintings of these gods are pasted onto the main door of a home. The main entrance traditionally consists of two doors, so the gods always appear in pairs.
The most famous demon hunter Zhong Kui (钟馗 – Zhōng kuí) has a terrifying face.
This is why door gods all have angry eyes, twisted features and hold traditional weapons.
They are ready to protect the family against any demon or spirit.
In another story, the Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (唐太宗 – Táng tài zōng) heard the cries of demons at night.
He ordered two generals to guard him outside the door. The cries were never to be heard again and the Emperor decided to paste portraits of the generals on the door.
Although these decorations are not as popular in modern times, some regions of China still do this to bring peace and fortune into the household.
Feature Image: Timothy A. Clary | Getty Images | "Edmond de Belamy" sold at Christie's in
3D Project | Look into the World’s Most Isolated Nation