|Guan Gong (God of Wealth)|
“Saintly Emperor Guan” refers to the renowned general Guan Yu in the Three Kingdoms period. Guan Yu's deeds and influence were glorified from the Song dynasty on, possibly because of the popularity of the book Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Guan Yu’s loyalty, filial piety, moral integrity, and sense of justice are deeply rooted in the hearts of people. The Ming Dynasty emperor Shenzong bestowed Guan Yu with several titles and even designated martyred ministers Lu Xiufu and Zhang Shijie as Guan Yu’s prime ministers, Yue Fei as Supreme Commander, and Wei Chi Gong as Garan (protective deity). In the print, standing on both sides of Saintly Emperor Guan are two of these figures. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, Guan Yu status was elevated even more. He was referred to as the “Martial Saint,” just as Confucius is known as the “Literary Saint.” Since Saintly Emperor Guan is said to possess all-round powers such as the ability to guide people’s destiny, help people pass imperial examinations, heal sicknesses, cast away evil spirits and ward off ill-fortunes, punish the rebellious, patrol the nether regions, bring in wealth and treasure, and protect businessmen, people from all walks of life worship him (“the almighty god”), more so than Confucius, making him a widely popular deity.