Wen Ti

▪ Chinese deity
also called  Wen Ch'ang , or  Wen Ch'ang Ti-Chün , Pinyin  Wen Di,  Wen Chang , or  Wen Chang Dijun 

      the Chinese god of literature, whose chief heavenly task, assigned by the Jade Emperor (Yü Huang), is to keep a log of men of letters so that he can mete out rewards and punishments to each according to his merit. He also maintains a register of the titles and honours each writer has received.

      Among numerous legends about Wen Ti, he is said to have had 17 reincarnations, during the ninth of which he appeared on earth as Chang Ya. Some say he lived during T'ang dynasty times (AD 618–907), others say during the 3rd or 4th century or even earlier. In any case, his brilliant writing led to his canonization during the T'ang dynasty and to his appointment as lord of literature in the 13th century. Because Chang is said to have lived at Tzu-t'ung in Szechwan province, persons of that region worship him under the title Tzu-t'ung Shen (Spirit of Tzu-t'ung).

      In representations, Wen Ti usually sits, wears a mandarin robe, and holds a sceptre. He is flanked by a male and a female servant, one called T'ien-Lung (Heavenly Deaf One), the other Ti Ya (Earthly Mute). The names suggest that Wen Ti must turn a deaf ear to those who inquire about the secrets of literature, for such a topic necessarily leaves one speechless.

      Wen Ti also has two assistants, K'uei Hsing, the god of examinations, with whom he is sometimes confused, and Chu I, whose name signifies Red Coat.

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Universalium. 2010.

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