Treat yourself to 15% off apparel, cases and laptop skins with code FORME15

Zhong Kui, 钟馗 - Portrait 3 by Ze Zhao

Greeting Cards & Postcards

Available to buy on…

Zhong Kui, 钟馗 - Portrait 3 by 

Zhong Kui (Chinese: 鍾馗; pinyin: Zhōng Kuí; Japanese: Shōki) is a person from ancient Chinese mythology. Traditionally regarded as a vanquisher of ghosts and evil beings, and reputedly able to command 80,000 demons, his image is often painted by ordinary persons on household gates as a guardian spirit, as well as in places of business where high-value goods are involved. As with legends and myths in many cultures a number of variations to his story can be found. There are many literary works, dramas, plays and more about him.

According to Wikipedia and other folklore, myth and legend sources, Zhong Kui traveled with Du Ping (杜平), a friend from his hometown, to take part in the imperial examinations at the capital. Some versions of the story explain how his face became disfigured and his sword became magical after he visited some monks for a feast on his way to the examination. Though Zhong achieved top honors in the exams, his title of “zhuangyuan” was stripped by the emperor because of his disfigured appearance. In anger, Zhong Kui committed suicide upon the palace steps by hurling himself against the palace gate until his head was broken. Du Ping buried him. After Zhong became king of ghosts in Hell, he returned to his hometown on the Chinese New Year’s Eve. To repay Du Ping’s kindness, Zhong Kui gave his younger sister in marriage to Du.

Zhong Kui’s popularity in folklore, myth and legend can be traced to the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang China (712 to 756). According to Song Dynasty sources, once the Emperor Xuanzong was gravely ill. He had a dream in which he saw two ghosts. The smaller of the ghosts stole an embroidered perfumed purse from a favorite imperial consort, Yang Guifei, and a jade flute belonging to the emperor. The bigger ghost, wearing the hat of an official, captured the smaller ghost, tore out his eye and ate it. The bigger ghost then introduced himself as Zhong Kui and said he was sworn to rid the empire of evil. The Emperor awarded him with an honorable burial of a court official. Zhong Kui continues to be a popular figure in modern China.

Greeting Cards & Postcards

china, portrait, evil, chinese, myth, ghosts, legend, folklore, zhong, kui, 钟馗

All Products

china, portrait, evil, chinese, myth, ghosts, legend, folklore, zhong, kui, 钟馗


  • coffeetea
    coffeeteaover 6 years ago

    great art! great image…

  • Lee Wilde
    Lee Wildeover 6 years ago

  • Van Cordle
    Van Cordleover 6 years ago

    Wow Fantastic!!!

  • Lee Wilde
    Lee Wildeabout 6 years ago

    Congratulations, this painting has been chosen to be our group icon this week!

    1 on 1: The Fine Art of Portraiture

  • darkestartist
    darkestartistabout 6 years ago

    wonderful job

  • Ze Zhao
    Ze Zhaoabout 6 years ago

    Thanks:coffeetea,Lee Wilde,Van Cordle,Lee Wilde,Avril Brand,darkestartist, Thank you for your comments and your viewpoints. I appreciate your comments very much. I don’t understand English. I depend on translation software, so the phrasing may be wrong. Please forgive me.

  • Marilyn Baldey
    Marilyn Baldeyalmost 6 years ago

    Beautiful strong and painterly, and thank you for this image of the great protector.

  • Thanks

    – Ze Zhao

  • mhkantor
    mhkantorover 5 years ago

    classic, a masterpiece. what wonderful briliance. words fail before it.

  • Thanks you!

    – Ze Zhao

  • tom burke
    tom burkeover 5 years ago

    beautiful painting,colors are terrific.

  • Thanks you!

    – Ze Zhao

  • linaji
    linajiover 5 years ago

    i FEEL LIKE A FAWN AROUND YOU.. what incredible vibration you have to know this and feel this and see this and then give it to us.. I am in awe truely you are a master..

  • Thanks you!

    – Ze Zhao

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.