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Door Guardians

Door gods Yuchi Gong and Qin Qiong, approx. 1900-1950. China. Offset lithograph; ink and colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, bequest of John Gutmann, 2010.184.

The two most frequently seen door gods represent the generals Qin Qiong and Yuchi Gong, who are celebrated for having saved an emperor from the threat of demons. Each can be identified by his weapon: Yuchi Gong holds a steel whip and Qin Qiong grasps a sword. Prints like this one are often glued on doors, windows, walls, pillars, furniture, and any place around the outside of the house. Celebratory themes and images pictured on the prints bear wishes for a happy New Year, a long life, health, fortune, continuation of the family line, and protections against evil-many of the prominent themes embedded in symbols on Chinese art.