Chinese God of Literature and his Court, constellation

Touch the Stars detail: The God of Literature and His Court, China

The Chinese mapped and named constellations, but at certain points of their history, rather than forming pictures by connecting the dots and noting their resemblance to certain forms, they labeled the individual stars in a particular region of the sky as specific figures or objects belonging to a group.

In the third millenium B.C. and afterward, this group represented Wen-chang, the God of Literature, seated on an emperor's throne before his court. Before him stand K'uei, Minister of Literary Affairs of the World; Chu-i, Mr. Red Coat, Minister Who Looks After the Welfare of Students; Chin-chia, Mr. Gold Armor, a minister who recruits talented students to serve the government and Kuan-ti, God of War, whose job it was to prevent wars. Rounding out the retinue are a court jester and Wen-Chang's pets.

Legend has it that K'uei was a gifted student with a deformed face who won a prize for his literary examinations, but when the emperor was to present his award, he registered shock at K'uei's appearance. Humiliated, K'uei leaped from a cliff into the sea, but was rescued by a kindly sea monster and conveyed to his place in his heavens, where he was given his ministerial role.

Back to Mural page

For Commissioning Information Contact:
All images, text and web design © Helen Glazer 1993-2017. All rights reserved.
Photo by Jeff D. Goldman.

Home Writings Photographs and Photo-based Sculpture Murals and Paintings Links to organizations, art-science  books and resources for artists Relief Sculptures Biography and resume