Chinese Protector Deities: Thousand-Mile Eyes and Follow-Wind Ears 千里眼与顺风耳

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These two martial figures protect Mazu 妈祖 (Tianhou天后). Thousand-Mile eyes is typically given green skin and holds one hand to his eyes as he surveys the horizon. Follow-Wind Ears is red-faced and holds his hands at waist level as if ready for a fight. Both images are usually with fierce expressions and are titled Generals. Alternative names are General Golden Spirit and General Water Spirit (金精將軍、水精將軍). They are said to have been evil spirits from Peach Flower Mountain who were subdued by Mazu.

The images pictured here are taken from two temples, one in Fujian and one in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The Taiwan temple is the major Mazu temple in Kaohsiung, so we would expect the two generals to be present. The images in this temple are unpainted, dark wood. Those from the Fujian temple are brightly painted, in red (Thousand-Mile Eyes) and blue (Follow-Wind Ears), as opposed to the standard green and red. The Fujian temple is an anomaly, a Buddhist temple with the two generals added as attendants to the major Buddhist protector deity Sangharama (aka Guan Ti 关帝). This is a clear example of mixing influences between Buddhism and folk religion.
Qianliyan, Thousand-mile Eye, in Luohan Temple, near Fuzhou, Fujian, China.
Shunfenger, Follow-wind Ear, hear in blue skin instead of green, from the side altar at Luohan Temple, near Fuzhou, Fujian, China


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