Bi Gan (比干)
Name of a
Chinese wealth god.
He was a faithful civilian official and the uncle of the tyrannical and
concupiscent Emperor Zhou, the last ruler
of the Shang Dynasty,
for whom he took charge of the Imperial finances and whom he
frankly expostulated. Legend has it that to
prove his loyalty
he took out his heart and presented it to the Emperor by throwing it on
the floor. Though other sources,
such as the Chinese novel The Investiture of the Gods,
Gan tried to
unprincipled and debauched Emperor,
killed him cruelly by
taking his heart out
to check if
a saint, as it
that a saint’s heart has seven ventricles.
After drinking the
Elixir of Immortality,
i.e. the herbal medicine prepared by the
Rabbit that lives on the moon (fig.),
given to him by Lü Shang (吕尚) i.e. Jiang Ziya (姜子), the military
strategist and Grand Duke of Qi, Bi Gan survived.
Having no heart he
in the distribution of the Emperor’s wealth amongst the people and so
became a Chinese civilian wealth deity (fig.).
also called Wen
the ‘formal god of wealth’ who is also referred to as the ‘true god of