The first group are deities while the second are the first legendary rulers of China. Up until relatively recent times there was no creation legend, the legend of Pangu probably came from outside China and there was no legend of heaven or hell. Life all started with a semi-god creation figure Fuxi and his wife or sister Nuwa. The most widely known set of three are Fuxi, Shennong and then the Yellow Emperor. Fuxi is credited with many inventions, perhaps most important culturally was the eight trigrams that he saw on the back of a tortoise.
Seven Lucky Gods - Wikipedia
He eventually became the center of a flourishing cult after the 9th century in the kingdoms of Nanzhao and Dali in what is now the province of Yunnan , a region bordering Tibet , where his cult was also widespread. Due to Tibetan influence, his importance further increased during the Mongol -led Yuan dynasty , with his likeness being displayed in the imperial palace and in Buddhist temples inside and outside the capital though most of these images are now no longer extant. These were eventually adopted into Japanese as Makakara or Makakyara and Daikokuten , respectively. There is likewise in great monasteries in India, at the side of a pillar in the kitchen, or before the porch, a figure of a deity carved in wood, two or three feet high, holding a golden bag, and seated on a small chair, with one foot hanging down towards the ground.
Seven Lucky Gods
They all began as remote and impersonal gods, but gradually became much closer canonical figures for certain professions and Japanese arts. During the course of their history, the mutual influence between gods has created confusion about which of them was the patron of certain professions. The worship of this group of gods is also due to the importance of the number seven in Japan, supposedly a signifier of good luck. It is known that these deities mostly have their origins as ancient gods of fortune from religions popular in Japan: from Mahayana Buddhism Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Daikokuten which came to Japan from China but originated in India, and from Chinese Taoism Fukurokuju, Hotei, Jurojin ; except for one Ebisu who has a native Japanese ancestry. These gods have been recognized as such for over a thousand years.
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