UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Dragon King Temple (Longwang miao 龍王廟) Taubes, Hannibal


Village name and precise coordinates concealed to protect potentially vulnerable sites from looters; the village is located in Jia County of Shaanxi Province (Shanxi sheng Jia xian 陝西省佳縣). This small ruined temple to the Dragon Kings sits on a hilltop above a small village in the loess plateau. The structure is a simple stone barrel arch modeled after the cave-houses (yao 窯) of the region. The central (north) wall depicts the Dragon Mother (longmu 龍母) and six male figures; these should be the Dragon Kings of the Five Directions (wufang longwang 五方龍王) and the Rain Master (Yu shi 雨師), although all six of them appear more or less the same. The side walls depict the ride of the Dragon Kings out on the east and back on the west. As is typical for such iconographies in northern Shaanxi, the Dragon Kings occupy the top register of the side walls, while central place is given to two martial figures with bow and sword, who are shown attacking demons in the lowest register. Four other riders form their retinue. According to the Zheng 鄭 family artists of Hou Zhengjiagou Village (Hou Zhengjiagou Cun 後鄭家溝村), who live nearby in Jia County and habitually paint such iconographies in the present day, these are the Gods of the Five Ways (Wudao shen 五道神). The demons are Willow-Tree Spirits (liushu jing 柳樹精) and Fox Fairies (huli jing 狐狸精) who pilfer offerings made to the gods. This identification may be correct.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International