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Zhao Gong Ming (赵公明)

Chinese. ‘Zhao, the Just and Bright One’. Name of the most influential and popular Chinese wealth god. He is usually depicted with a thick beard and a dark face, riding a ferocious tiger that swallows all evil (fig.). His attributes are a Chinese gold ingot and a multilevel military vajra, a weapon that enables him to destroy all ignorance that could lead to being cheated. According to popular myth he was a legendary former general of ancient China who was appointed by the Jade Emperor to take charge of the distribution of wealth and good fortune amongst the people. His family name was Zhao and his first name was Lang, and he styled himself Gong Ming. Lü Shang (吕尚) i.e. Jiang Ziya (姜子), the military strategist and Grand Duke of Qi, gave him the title Jin Long Ru Yi Zheng - Long Hu Xuan Tan Zhen Jun (金龙如意正-龙虎玄坛真君), which is usually loosely translated as Golden Dragon of Happiness-Dragon and Tiger Emperor’ (fig.). He has four gods under him, i.e. Zhao Bao (招宝), Na Zhen (纳珍), Zhao Cai (招财), and Li Shi (利市). Together, they are called Wu Lu Cai Shen (五路财神), i.e. the Five gods of Fortune. His name is also spelled Chao Kung Ming (fig.) and he is sometimes called Tsai Shen Yeh, meaning ‘Grandfather wealth god’. In Thai-Chinese temples he is referred to by the Tae Chew names Chai Sing Ihya (fig.) or Chai Sing Ihya Boo (fig.), and in Thai he is known as Phra Thonbodih and Thao Wetsuwan, and he is associated with Kubera, whereas the Chinese name is transcribed Chao Kong Ming (เจ้ากงหมิง). See also Cai Shen.