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臺南市中西區普濟殿王爺千歲池府紅臉(陳美華攝)

「王爺」、「千歲」本是古代對王公貴族的尊稱,「王爺」敬稱受有君主冊封王爵頭銜者,「千歲」則是臣屬對王公、太子或皇后等之稱呼。在民主政治時代,「王爺」和「千歲」更突顯被稱呼者有其傳統,且地位尊貴非凡,因為「王爺」和「千歲」在台灣是用以稱呼民間信仰的神祗。一般而言,王爺千歲多分開使用,稱為「某府王爺」或「某府千歲」。「王爺」、「千歲」是臺灣非常重要的一類神祇,「王爺」是最常見的名稱,王爺的傳說故事有許多不同版本,在最主要的傳說中,諸府王爺是唐時人,一共有132姓,360人,本是國家科舉考試的秀才,卻因奸臣陷害而亡,死後成為神祇。後來為了方便儀式實行,簡化為36人,亦或5人、3人一組,或是獨姓,成為我們現今常見的「五府千歲」、「三府千歲」、「某府千歲」。
王爺在臺灣非常普及,尤以南臺灣為主。自日治時1918年時丸井圭治統計,全臺灣的王爺有四百五十三座,僅次於福德正神的六百六十九座。劉枝於1960年的調查,全台有七百三十座,居全臺之冠。1979年仇德哉的調查,有六百八十四座,佔全臺九分之一。近十年以內政部2002年的調查為例,單單雲林地區一處,全境653座的宇,王爺有132座,約佔1/5。目前全臺民間神祇裡,王爺流行的程度和媽祖信仰難分軒輊,是台灣相當重要的神祇。
雖然王爺流行的程度和媽祖不相上下,有別於媽祖是單一神祗,「王爺千歲」乃是民間神祗的類名。王爺千歲的姓氏、頭銜各不相同,顯示王爺千歲源出數端。加以中國宗教中的神祗自古以來即以君主-官僚系統象徵神祗間的階層,為神祗冠以帝王、諸侯、官職等頭銜乃是普遍的現象。此外,王爺千歲的造型,除了由歷史人物轉變而成者有足以識別之造型外,其它並沒有特別的造型。針對特定的王爺千歲考察其來源有其難度,唯有根據姓氏、頭銜等方得識別。根據早前的研究調查,全台王爺約有132個不同的姓氏,頭銜的共同處是多作「千歲爺」、「府千歲」、「王爺」、「千歲」、「王公」或「大人」等等,有些王爺會節慶中神祇出巡時稱為「代天巡狩」,或作成匾額懸掛中,是為最顯著的標記。
大體而言,目前關於王爺千歲的源頭,主要觀點集中於瘟神信仰。瘟神信仰源於古代人們理解瘟疫的方式,瘟疫就是急性的傳染病,往往傳染迅速且造成大規模的傷亡,正因為瘟疫造成人們大規模且迅速的死亡,帶給人們莫大的恐懼,人們乃將瘟疫發生的原因歸結於超自然的鬼神力量。在東漢蔡邕的《獨斷》裡載有瘟神的原型,即瘟鬼,源於古代帝王顓頊早夭的兒子,居住江水之中,危害人民的安全。《道藏》中載有五位瘟神,會至各處行瘟,造成瘟疫,五位神祇分屬不同方位,他們分別是東方的劉元達、南方的張元伯、西方的趙公明、北方的鍾士季、中央的史文業。明代《三教搜神大全》裡,五位瘟神與四季和總管中瘟的瘟神結合,鍾士季變成鍾士貴,五人分別對應夏、春、秋、冬、中央,且各有所執法器和服色,是為後來台灣五府千歲和五瘟神的主要原型。
王爺信仰從瘟鬼變成瘟神的發展過程,按照劉枝先生研究,可分為六階段:首先是散佈疫病的瘟神或厲鬼;接下來是變成取締前述瘟神厲鬼的神祇,扮演安民護邦的角色;因為能夠驅逐疫疾,進一步變成保護海上行船之海神,或具有海神的神格;也是治療各式疾病的醫神;或成為地方的守護神;部分最終成為能之神。
廣義的王爺千歲定義範圍甚廣,依黃文博的分類,王爺千歲的類型有五,一是戲神,如台灣特有的西秦王爺。二、家神,因家鄉名人或祖先因有功於鄉里或有義行而成神,源於《記‧祭法》中「有功烈於民」成神的概念,如李冰父子治水有功而成灌口二郎、張巡、許遠變成的保儀尊王。三、英靈,此類與家神相似,但生平事蹟受通俗小說或歷史演義影響者,如關公、開漳聖王或蕭何變成的蕭王爺等。四、鄭王,即鄭成功,是台灣特有的王爺千歲源頭之一,因為清廷的統治乃將國姓爺的信仰地下化,具體的例子是朱王爺,此觀點首由連橫提出,亦有人主張國姓爺是全臺灣王爺的主要源頭。嚴格來說,鄭王和英靈的概念無甚差異,且此觀點有待商榷,因為臺灣的王爺經研究,其中屬鄭王者係少數。五、瘟神,王爺其實是一種厲鬼,只是轉變成為瘟神。但也有主張王爺和瘟神不相涉者。此外,若將三山國王、樹王公等這類山神、自然神也納入王爺千歲的系統中,還可加入自然神或庶物崇拜一類,則全部合計有六類。只是最後一類數目最少,通常其影響區域也較小。
王爺千歲信仰最重要的活動是王醮,即王船祭典。全台灣舉行王船祭典的聚落,按地域區分可為六大系統,分別是東港溪流域、二仁溪流域、曾文溪流域、八掌溪流域、朴子溪流域和澎湖群島。其中又以屏東東港的迎王平安祭典和台南西港的王醮刈祭典最為豐富且受各方關注,屏東東港的迎王儀式以儒家傳承,考究的王船製作著稱,且於午夜送王,西港王醮則與刈、醮儀同時進行,送王時辰為中午,過去還有搶鯉魚旗的習俗。
王船是王醮的核心,儀式活動的主要特徵,材質各地不同,有些地方採用木造,如屏東東隆宮,有些地方以紙糊製作,如嘉義朴子溪地區。王船祭典之儀式程序可簡分作請、送王爺,最後燒王船,驅送瘟疫。王船是王爺用以押送瘟神,遺送疫鬼的工具。
特別一提的是並非所有王爺皆有王船的習俗,如鹿港地區以暗訪為特色,暗訪是王爺在夜間出動神兵將緝捕邪祟,驅除疫疾,最後以發送去祟用的草人、繳旨為儀式結束。雲林地區如褒忠馬鳴山鎮安宮等,並不強調造送王船,以祈安祭典為主。儘管王船儀式並非各處通行,但不論任何地區,王爺代理天帝巡察人們的角色仍是各地不變的特色。與王爺相關儀式的意義,都是藉由王爺週性的巡視人間,奬善懲惡,驅逐疫疾、災殃,祈求全境平安,完成王爺「代天巡狩、燮理陰陽」的職務。


臺南市中西區普濟殿王爺千歲池府紅臉(陳美華攝)


 
臺南市中西區普濟殿王爺千歲池府紅臉(陳美華攝)


關鍵詞
王爺、王爺千歲、王船、瘟神、王醮
 
考資料
  1. 李豐楙。1998,《東港迎王-東港東隆宮丁丑年正科平安祭典》。臺北:學生書局。
  2. 劉枝。1983。《臺灣民間信仰論集》。台北:聯經。
  3. 蔡相煇。1989。《台灣的王爺與媽祖》。台北:臺原。
  4. 謝宗榮。2006。《台灣的王爺》。台北:遠足文化。

 
進階閱讀
  1. 康豹(Paul R. Katz)1997。《臺灣的王爺信仰》臺北市:商鼎文化。
  2. 康豹,2003,〈台灣王爺信仰研究的回顧與展望〉,於江燦騰、張珣編。《台灣本土宗教研究的新視野和新思維》,頁143-174。台北:南天書局有限公司。


Wangye(王爺), Royal Lords, is the title of king during the feudal period in China and Taiwan. Today, in Chinese popular religion, Wangye is rather a category of deity than the title of king. Wangye is a specific deity. It is estimated that there are more than 132 different last names of Wanye in Taiwan. Each one is implied a different origin of Wangye. However, Most Wangye’s stories still share some common plots. One of the plots is almost all of the Wanye were presented as scholars, a graduate of the palace examination, in Tang Dynasty and they died in an incident tragically. Then the imperial house set a shrine dedicated to them. That is the reason why there are so many different Wanye.
        Wanye is very popular in Taiwan, especially in Southern Taiwan. In 1918, it is estimated there were 453 temples dedicated to Wanye in Taiwan. The number is only fewer than the shrine dedicated to Fude zhengshen(福德正神)’s which was estimated about 669. According to Professor Liu Zhiwan’s(劉枝) investigation during 1960s, there were about 730 Wanye’s temples. In 1979, another scholar Chou Deai(仇德哉) made a field research in Taiwan estimating about 684 Wanye’s temples. It is about 1/5 of all Taiwan’s temples. According to the survey in 2003, it is hard to decide whether Wanye or Mazu is the most popular deity in Taiwan.
        Since Wanye is a category of deity, the last name and title of Wanye are various. Besides, it is a tradition and custom to represent a deity as a federal king or officials in Chinese popular religion. Most of Wanye’s statues are common. Only rare of them have feature. These three points reveal that to trace the origin of a specific Wanye is not easy. The remarkable common characters are their titles. Most of them are Qinsui ye(千歲爺), Fuqinsui(府千歲), wanye(王爺), Qinsui(千歲), wangong(王公), or dairen(大人) etc. It is an important clue to comprehend a Wanye’s origin.
        Basically, about the origin of Wanye, most of the scholars agree that Wanye majorly origin from the idea of plague spirits(疫鬼). The belief on the plague spirits is the way that ancient Chinese comprehended the plaue’s arising. Ancient Chinese thought that a plague was caused by plague spirits who were sent by Jade Emperor(玉帝) to punished people for behaving evil. Since a plague often caused many people were died suddenly, it made a huge pressure and anxiety to the survivors. The belief on the plague spirits could make people a relief on the tense. The proto type of plague spirit is a short-lived son of Zhuanxu(顓頊). Then the spirit became plural and they are five plague deities who are named Liu Yuanda (劉元達)in the east, Zhang Yuanbo(張元伯) in the south, Zhao Gongming (趙公明) in the west, Zhong Shiji (鍾士季) in the north, Shi Wenye(史文業) in the middle.
Another way to understand Wanye is to define and to classify them. The broad classification and definition of Wanye is proposed by Huang Wenbo(黃文博). There are five types of Wanye. The first is the deity of Chinese music and drama(戲曲神). For example, Xiqin Wangye(西泰王爺) is one of them. The second type is the local or compound god(家神). The reason that they became deities is they were righteous or beneficial to their homeland. This idea is available in one classic, the Rite of Book(記). Such as the Zhang Xun(張巡), Hsu Yuan(許遠) is an example. The third is heroic spiritual(英靈). This type is about those gods who are famous of their remarkable carrier and life when they were alive and their biography were furnished by popular novels. Kuan Gong(關公), Kaizhang Shengwang(開漳聖王) are this type. The fourth type is Zheng Wang(鄭王). This type is dedicated to Yanping junwag (延平郡王), who was believed as the founder of Taiwan society. However, this type is ambiguous. It is hard to tell the difference between the fourth and the third. The fifth type is plague spirits that was mentioned before. Apparently, Huang’s definition and classification of Wanye is broad enough to comprehend all of the deities whose titles are related to a king or officials.
The important ritual about Wanye is wangjiao(王醮), an offering rituals featuring the floating away or burning of a wangye’s boat(王船). The procedures of a wanjiao are roughly divided to three steps. The first is welcoming the lords and making offering to them. Then it is sending off the lords. The last is expelling the plague spirits by guiding them to the boat and burning or floating away the boat. The goal of held a wangjiao is to pray a happiness and peace for a community. In Taiwan, the most famous wanjiao are held at Donggang in Pintong(屏東東港) and Xigang in Tainan(台南西港).
Not all the temples dedicated to Wanye are held a wangjiao involving wangye’s boat. In Lugang(鹿港), Wanye are symbolic to inspect a region furtively, named anfang(暗訪), secret inspecting. The statue of Wanye is seat on a sedan and carried by peoples in a procession to find out the evil spirits. Then the evil spirits are arrested and made to possess on a straw man as a double. Finally sending off the straw man is the end of secret inspecting. It’s a symbol of expelling the evil spirits. Although not all of the temples dedicated to Wanye is held burring wangye’s boat. Wangye’s mission is escorting peoples will be a lasting tradition.
 
Keywords:
Wangye, Lords, Wanye’s boat, plague spirits, wangjiao, the offering of Wanye
 
Reference
  1. 李豐楙。1998,《東港迎王-東港東隆宮丁丑年正科平安祭典》。臺北:學生書局。
  2. 劉枝。1983。《臺灣民間信仰論集》。台北:聯經。
  3. 蔡相煇。1989。《台灣的王爺與媽祖》。台北:臺原。
  4. 謝宗榮。2006。《台灣的王爺》。台北:遠足文化。
 
進階閱讀
  1. 康豹。1997。(Paul R. Katz)著,《臺灣的王爺信仰》臺北市:商鼎文化。
康豹,2003,〈台灣王爺信仰研究的回顧與展望〉,於江燦騰、張珣編,《台灣本土宗教研究的新視野和新思維》,頁143-174,台北:南天書局有限公司。
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