The biography of Lin Mo Niang [Ma Zu] (Goddess Of The Sea)
This drama reflects the lifetime achievements of Ma Zu through the incorporation of over 30 folk legends with the goal of restoring a venerable, kind and lovely image to a legendary goddess.
According to legend, Lin Moniang was born on March 23, 960 (during the early Northern Song Dynasty) as the seventh daughter of Lin Yuan (林愿) on Meizhou Island, Fujian. She did not cry when she was born, and thus her given name means “Silent Girl.”
There are many legends about her and the sea.
Although she started swimming relatively late at the age of 15, she soon became an excellent swimmer. She wore red garments while standing on the shore to guide fishing boats home, even in the most dangerous and harsh weather.
According to legend, Lin Moniang’s father and brothers were fishermen. One day, a terrible typhoon arose while they were out at sea, and the rest of her family feared that those at sea had perished. In the midst of this storm, depending on the version of the legend, she fell into a trance while praying for the lives of her father and brothers or dreamed of her father and brothers while she was sleeping or sitting at a loom weaving. In both versions of the story, her father and brother were drowning but Moniang’s mother discovered her sleeping and tried to wake her. This diverted Moniang’s attention and caused her to drop her brother who drowned as a result. Consequently, Moniang’s father returned alive and told the other villagers that a miracle had happened. Other versions of the story relate to four drowning brothers, with three returning and the fourth lost to her being revived (with no mention of a father).
Mazu is usually depicted together with two guardian generals known as “Thousand Miles Eye” (千里眼, Qianli Yan) and “With-the-Wind Ear” (順風耳 Shunfeng Er). Though their iconography can vary, both are usually represented as demons; “Thousand Miles Eye” is often red with two horns, while “With-the-Wind Ear” is green with one horn. They are said to have been two demons whom Mazu conquered. The both of them were in love with her, but she said she would marry the one who defeated her. Using her Martial arts skills, Mazu defeated them both and they became her friends.
Mazu herself is usually depicted wearing a red robe in paintings or murals, but in sculpture is always clothed in the jewel-festooned robes of an empress holding either a ceremonial tablet or a jewelled staff whilst wearing the easily recognized flat-topped imperial cap with hanging beads at the front and back.
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