Episode 208: Tai Sui – Part 2

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Why the slang talks about remove the soil on top of the head of Tai Sui? It is related another belief of Chinese folklore from Tang dynasty 唐朝, around the 9th century, which interestingly is about a lump of meat creature called also called Tai Sui 太岁 from underground. How can this auspicious star god ended up showing up from underground. It is probably related with the ancient Chinese idea that the sky or heaven, human and earth are connect. 天垂象, 地涌兆, literally means the sky or heaven and the earth show us omens. The star in the sky must shows in other form on earth.

This Tai Sui from underground is a lump of meat like creature with thousands of eyes or in some versions it has no eyes or nose. In the book Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang 酉阳杂 俎from the Tang dynasty 唐朝, it says, in the place called Lai Zhou, which is in the province ShanDong 山东 today, there was a peasant named Wang Feng 王丰 didn’t believe the ritual and tradition of avoiding the position of Tai Sui, and dug a hole at the Tai Sui location. He found a huge lump of meat as big as a dou 斗, a tool to get water in ancient China, which can hole 10 liters. The lump squirmed like alive. He got scared and filled the hole while the lump still squirmed out of the hole. He ran away. The lump kept growing overnight and filled the whole yard. Wang Feng’s brothers and maids all died in the next few days except one woman.

 

太岁1

 

In the book XuYiJianZhi 续夷坚志 from the Jin dynasty 金朝, between the year 1115 ~ 1234, it says, the meat lump from the ground is called Tai Sui. The person who sees it would have bad luck and it shouldn’t be dug out.

I think this belief is not hard to understand. In Taoism, the earth is respected as the mother earth and in many culture as well. This Tai Sui underground story in a way protects the use of earth.

 

太岁3

 

Actually this meat lump is based on a real thing in life. In Chinese, it is called RouLinZhi 肉灵芝, meaning meaty LinZhi mushrooms. The existence, function of it is still in debate in biology. It is a lump of slime molds. It could be classified as fungi or not is not confirmed. In some ancient Chinese medical books including Compendium of Materia Medica 本草纲目, a Chinese herbology book from the year 1578, it says, eating RouLinZhi will let your body lighter and live longer. But since we still don’t know much about it, some scientists don’t recommend consuming it.

 

Mentioned:

酉阳杂俎 Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang

续夷坚志 XuYiJianZhi

本草纲目 Compendium of Materia Medica

 

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