中國造型土地公

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1989 / 2月

文‧莊伯和 圖‧莊伯和



以神、佛像為例子來談中國造型,有數不盡的材料。

每一神、佛像的造型,雖因時代變遷、地域因素有所改變,但其臉形、表情、姿勢、服飾和手持物,大抵有一定的規則。這是因為在信仰上,每一神、佛擁有其特有的屬性或擔負的任務,而需要在其造型上做某種象徵表現。

像如來總穿簡陋的「糞掃衣」,不似菩薩身上的美麗瓔珞裝飾,這是表示釋迦出家後拋棄了世俗享受。

玄天上帝腳踏龜、蛇,源自戰國時代就有的四靈之一,代表北方方位神的「玄武」(做蛇卷龜身狀),所以玄天上帝也稱北極大帝、真武大帝。

娼妓行業祭拜的豬哥神,做豬形或豬八戒狀,應是由「西遊記」中好色的豬八戒衍化而來。

媽祖的表情有如慈祥的母親,也是為了達到信仰的親和力。

但佛像中的明王,則常做憤怒狀,這是為了表示其闢妖除魔的法力。

而在台灣民間最廣為人知的土地公,相信一般人一望而知,土地公可算是典型的中國人物造型之一。

人類對於土地的信仰,起源極早,為了生命繁衍、農穰,遠古時代早有大地母神的信仰,至於男性化的土地神出現於何時?有待考證。

若從「搜神記」卷五蔣子文自稱土地神的記載來看,大約在西元三世紀前半葉已有土地公的信仰、五世紀時逐漸流行、至七世紀時廣及全中國,各地建有土地祠。而且從敦煌石窟中可發現,道教經典在五世紀已有土地神的名稱。後來深入民間,例如「西遊記」塈Y常描述孫悟空每至一生疏地方,不免請土地公出來問個究竟。

關於土地神的來源,民間也流行不少其他說法,例如一說他是堯帝農務官後稷,後人為紀念他廣教農法殖產的恩澤而祀他。

又說土地公是周朝稅官張福德,體恤百姓疾苦,不似一般稅吏之苛斂,而為百姓念念不忘,於是建廟祭祀,尊為福德正神。

其實土地公地位不高。他的廟小,比不上其他神祇,即使被奉祀於大廟中,也屬陪襯的地位,只有少數戴官帽的土地公廟,才算稍具規模。

然而也因為土地公地位低,不高高在上,反而更親近人間,俗語說:「田頭田尾土地公。」可見村落土地廟祠之多。通常商家每月初二、十六(農曆)都要拜他,謂之「做牙」,農曆二月初二是土地公生日,是為「頭牙」,十二月十六日則為「尾牙」。

人們每遇任何問題,都會找上深入民間的土地公,祈求豐收、生意繁榮,財富固不用說,連治病、升官、轉職也得找他幫忙。

土地公的形象,通常做白髮慈祥老翁打扮,彷彿有豐富的人生經驗,所以樂於助人,有求必應。另外,他更像民間戲曲中好心福相的老員外模樣,所以慷慨解囊,成為財神的象徵,怪不得有些土地公神像手握金元寶,衣服圖案也不忘給畫上幾個「壽」字。

但據說土地婆心眼小,反對土地公分財產給人間,大失人心。所以土地夫婦合祀廟宇很少見,想來這也是民俗信仰趣味之所在。

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EN

The Earth God

Chuang Po-ho /photos courtesy of Chuang Po-ho /tr. by Peter Eberly


Pictures and statues of divinities supply an inexhaustible wealth of material in discussing Chinese forms.

Despite variations over time and place, the forms of the various gods and goddesses--their features, expressions, postures, apparel, and the objects they hold--generally adhere to certain rules. That is because each god and goddess possesses special attributes or duties which must be represented symbolically in the form in which he or she is portrayed.

The Buddha, for example, is invariably shown wearing filthy rags, in contrast to the beautiful garments and precious jewelry worn by bodhisattvas, to signify how he cast away worldly pleasures when he entered the ascetic life.

Ma Tsu has the expression of a kind and loving mother, reflecting her congeniality and attractiveness to believers. while statues of Ming Wang are generally fearsome in visage, to express his power to drive away evil.

Typical in form also is the image of t'uti-kung, the god of the earth, which is recognizable at a glance to most people on Taiwan, where his worship is particularly widespread.

Man's belief in the divinity of the earth dates back to far antiquity, to the worship of the earth goddess, who was held to propagate life and nourish agriculture. As to exactly when the belief in a male earth god arose, a definitive answer must await further study.

Judged, however, from chapter five of the Sou-shen chi, or In Search of the Supernatural, where Chiang Tzu-wen styles himself the god of the earth, the belief in an earth god existed as early as the first half of the third century. The belief grew in popularity during the fifth century and by the seventh had spread over the whole of China.

Shrines to the god were built in each area of the country, and his name is recorded in a fifth-century Taoist scripture that has been unearthed from the caves at Tunhuang. The belief later entered deeply into the popular consciousness. In the sixteenth-century novel Hsi-yu chi, or Journey to the West, for example, Sun Wu-k'ung, or Monkey, always asks the local earth god to appear and report on what's happening whenever he arrives in a strange place.

As to the prototype of the god himself, opinions differ. Some say he is a deification of Hou Chi, the official in charge of agriculture under the ancient emperor Yao. Others say he originated in Chang Fu-teh, a benevolent tax official of the Chou dynasty who sympathized with the people's hardships and was later honored as a god.

In fact, the earth god is rather low in status. His shrines are small affairs compared with the temples erected to other deities, and if he appears in a larger temple at all it is only in a secondary, supporting role.

But just because of his humble status, the earth god is closer and more accessible to the people. "At each end of the field is a t'uti-kung," the proverb says, indicating the vast number of his shrines that dot thecountryside. Families engaged in business worshipped him on the second and sixteenth of each lunar month, and the second day of the second month is his birthday.

A deep part of popular belief, the earth god is turned to for help in all sorts of circumstances. Securing wealth, a rich harvest, or a prosperous business hardly needs mentioning; he is also asked to help out in curing a disease, gaining a promotion, or changing one's occupation.

As to his form, the earth god is generally pictured as a white-haired, kindly old man, rich in experience, generous with his wealth, and happy to help others in whatever they ask for. He is sometimes shown holding bars of gold and wearing clothes embroidered with the character for longevity.

His wife, who is said to be stingy and to resent his giving away their wealth so freely, is out of favor with the public and is rarely pictured with him in shrines and temples--yet another curious aspect of folk belief.

 

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