Revered King Baoyi and Cabinet Baoyi are the officials in Tang Dynasty. They are Zhang Xun (張巡,709-757)and Xu Yuan(許遠709-757). Both were killed in the An Lushan Rebellion(安史之亂, 755-763) because they warded over Sui Yang(睢陽) until the last minutes. When Sui Yang was fallen under ten month siege of rebellion, they were captured and beheaded. Their sacrifice were important to Tang royal court because they blocked the Rebellion’s march off to south and spared the time for government to fight back. Their faithfulness to Tang court was praised.
Though Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan were prasied by Tang government, the title Revered King Baoyi’s origin is not clear. Besides, whether Zhang Xun or Xu Yuan is Revered King or Cabinet Baoyi is not matched precisely. In other words, their titles are switched occasionally. Sometimes Zhang Xun is Revered King. In other cases, he was called Cabinet. In conclusion, Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan are historical figures, but their titles is only in oral tradition not proved in official records. Zhang Xun is also called Zhang Wanye(張王爺), Zhang Qiansui(張千歲) or Wan gong(尪公
). Because Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan are mostly co-dedicated by temples in Northern Taiwan, they are also called “shuang zhong”(雙忠), Pair of Loyalty. However, there are also some temples only dedicated to Zhang Xun in other area of Taiwan. Apparently, the belief on Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan is in a great of diversity.
As deities in popular religion, Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan’s character are complicated, especially on the side of Zhang Xun. To comprehend the phenomenon, their deed when they were warding off Sui Yang and the propagation being broad are the two lines. Actually, when Tang government was recovered from the rebel, the royal court did not decide to praise both of them immediately, because they cannibalized when the city was severed lack of food and many soldiers were starving and could not to battle with rebellions. Zhang Xun’s favor concubine also committed suicide to make herself as the food supply for army. Their deed shocked the officials and royal court. Considering the opinion among officials and public, Tang royal court was hard to make a decision of whether praising or not Zhang Xun’s and Xu Yuan’s sacrifice in the war. A friend of Zhang Xun, Li Han(李翰) broke the deadlock. He submitted his opinion to the emperor and argued for his friend’s merit. Besides, he emphasized that tragic dead without proper worship and got a fine destination would be harmful to the lives. On responding, the Emperor soon decreed founding a temple dedicated to them and to console and give monetary support to the descendant of the dead in the battle. Not only contemporaries propagated the sacrifice of Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan but also the followings. The famous one was Han Yu(韓愈,), a great Confucian in Tang dynasty. He rewrote a biography of them and when he was censured and dispatched to Chao Zhou(潮州). He funded the belief on Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan there. Additionally, the water transport system helped propagating the belief. As a result, the Belief on Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan became nation-wide. However, most of the stories is related to Zhang Xun because he was the commander in chief and he left a solid vow to become a fierce ghost taking revenge on the rebels before he was beheaded. Above all, the two reasons make Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan as complex deities.
Zhang Xun as a deity, he has three kinds of character. One is Wanye(王爺). Another is fierce ghost(厲鬼), related to his vow before his death. The other is tutelary deity of river. It seems that the fierce ghost came the first. Then Zhang Xun was sketched as a Wanye who could expel plague spirits or fierce ghost. Because the belief on him was popular around water transport system, then he became the deity of water blessing the safety of sailing. Zhang Xun not only kept his own identity but also was mixed or confused with other similar deities. In Sanxi(陝西) and Anhui(安徽), he was called The Third Prince Tongzen(通真三太子), who was confused with another prince in the Six Dynasty, Zhaoming(昭明) of Lian(梁) kingdom. In Jiangnan(
江南) , it is hard to tell the difference between Zhang Xun and Zhang Shicheng(張士誠). Besides, he was also announced as a deity of descent constelliation. In Yijian zhi(夷堅志), edited and written by Hong Mai(洪邁, 1123-1202), he was an official under Dongyue Dadi(東嶽大帝), taking charge of person’s lives and death. At Chao Zhou, Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan are the tutelary deities.
Due to the diversities of the belief on Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan, there are also variance temples dedicated to Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan in Taiwan. Basically, the northern Taiwan, especially in Taipei basin, is the major distribution area. According to statistics, there are eighteen temples dedicated to Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan. Most of the temples dedicated to Zhang Xun and Xu Yuan are named Jiying temple(集應廟
). There are twelve temples. The title Baoyi is also referred here. Revered King Baoyi and Cabinet Baoyi were imported into Taipei by the migrants from Anshi, Fujian. The major clans are Gao(高), Zhang(張), and Lin(林). In Yuanlin(雲林) and Jiayi(嘉義) area, the belief on Zhang Xun is majorly closed to Wanye. In Tainan(台南) area, it is still major on Zhang Xun and the character is closed to the fierce ghost. Among different areas, not only the characters of Zhang Xun but also the festivals of Zhang Xun’s birthday are diverse. Each area arranged its own celebration on the different understanding. Apparently, it is the result of the belief on Zhang Xun’s localized.
Revered King Baoyi, Cabinet Baoyi, Zhang Xun, Xu Yuan, Jiying temple,