Hou T'u

▪ Chinese mythological deity
Pinyin  Hou Tu, in  Chinese  mythology, the spirit of the earth, first worshiped in 113 Bc 

      by Wu Ti, a Han-dynasty emperor. Hou T'u as sovereign earth became identified with the dual patron deity of the soil and harvest, She Chi, and so received sacrifices under this title. In any case, it was the god of the soil who became personified in the person of Kou Lung, a hero related to Shen Nung, the legendary Chinese father of agriculture.

      At various times and in various places Hou T'u seems also to have had a cult as the spirit of humanity, as the national earth god (as distinguished from local deities called T'u-ti, and as the spirit of deceased emperors and empresses. In the latter part of the 14th century Hou T'u was, for no clear reason, transformed into a female deity. Modern temples thus enshrine the image of a woman who is known as Hou T'u Nai-nai.

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Universalium. 2010.

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