Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/324

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296 Collectanea.

Fig. 5 is a shou taou or longevity peach, in the shape of a con ventional peach, with a representation of a peach tree and fruit. The reverse is inscribed " Heaven grant length of years." At New Year peach blossom is hung in doorways to exclude evil spirits, and the word shou, or longevity, written by the " vermilion pencil " of the emperor is one of the greatest favours he can grant to an official, and is looked upon as a certain charm for long life.

Fig. 8 shows a brass tablet to be fixed against the wall of a house as a protection against the malignant ghost of one who has met a violent death there, and especially against the ghost of a suicide. The Chinese characters are a jumble, and may be either a kind of magic square or a meaningless formula to detain and harmlessly occupy the ghost in the same way as certain English charms against witches.

Of the other charms exhibited, and not illustrated, perhaps the most interesting is a paper charm against sickness and goblins, obtained from a Taoist priest in Shantung, and a characteristic specimen of the charms folded up and worn in the girdle or in a red bag hung from the buttonhole. Such charms are also burnt, and their ashes given in liquor to the sick or to children. It con- sists of a piece of paper 95 inches broad by 7^ inches long, of which the right-hand half reads " Ch'ih ya feng. Tzii fii yii ping jen p'ei," literally "To license inferior ^';7^" {iho. feng oi feng-shtii, generally "wind," but here "influence," the passage meaning " Evil influence is controlled "). " This charm give sick man to wear " (on girdle or pendant). The left hand half reads " Chen qu'ai. Jih jih jih jih t'ien. Shih jih chi k'ou t'u. Jih jih jih jih t'ien. Chu shu tzu fu," or "A charm to control goblins. Day, day, day, day, field. Ten days fortunate in mouth and earth {i.e., person and land). Day, day, day, day, field. This charm to be written in vermilion."

The pih kea or hundred families' charm exhibited is made nominally from one hundred cash collected with good wishes as for the hundred families^ lock, and is inscribed on one side " Long life and precious things," and on the other shows the seven stars of the Great Bear, two Buddhist Arhats, and the lunar hare squatting at the foot of the cassia tree in the moon and pounding drugs for the genii to prepare the elixir of life. The zvarding-off-evil cash is a favourite charm for children, and on one side has felicitous or protective characters, and on the other the twelve animals of the