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A Study of Icons of grab devil in the Shoushas-Tu
LIU HSIN YI
Reising the Alms-bowl
Abstract " Shoushas-Tu ", a series of narrative paintings about depicting grasping demons, are mainly in the forms of long scrolls depicting a group of seemingly ferocious and demon-like figures hunting in the tree-covered mountains. They bring hunting hawks, hounds, and hand-held weapons to kill a variety of hidden biological organisms, including animals and a part of half-animal orc. The existing " Shoushas-Tu ", twelve versions in total, are hidden both in the major domestic and foreign museums and private places. In accordance with the composition of grasping demons, they can be divided into four major systems: animal systems, female demon systems, hybrid systems, and derivative systems. Scholars pointed that Erlang God might be the main deity responsible for Shoushas works. However, according to the image evolution of the main deity in different versions of " Shoushas-Tu ", the identity of the main deity in different periods is different, including Bishamen Tianwang﹙Vaisravana﹚, Erlang God, Guan u, and may even Zhong Kui, famous deities, or other legendary heroes There are three main sources of all grasping scenes in " Shoushas-Tu ", to retain the scenes from the original stories, to be impacted from other popular circumstances, and to quote images from other monsters such as “Reising the Alms-bowl” and “Zhong Kui Tu”. One of the reasons that why " Shoushas-Tu " can be spread for a thousand year is the "fixity" and "mobility" in itself. Although the images of grasping demon are in the fixed compositions, the artist still has a high degree of organizing ability to freely redesign them. Besides, the status and function of the main deities are fixed, but the mobility of the roles has created a different performance. Then, although the scrolls have fixed performance with the "chaotic" and "rectifying" forces, the overall meaning of such images can be said to extol the merits of the grasping demons and the sympathy for the arrested organisms.
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