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Chinese Fire God - ZHU RONG

Updated on September 11, 2010

Human civilisation is based on fire, which gave man heat to cook his food and warm his body, light to drive away the darkness, and the possibility of working metal into the tools and other devices used in agriculture and all the arts. We can hardly wonder that the ancients worshipped fire, and the fire-worship still survives in some parts of the world.


According the legend of Greek mythology, one of the Titans, Prometheus by name, stole fire from heaven to give to men. Zeus, king of heaven, angered to think that men should receive a gift that would raise them nearer to the gods, had Prometheus chained to a rock, and sent an eagle to gnaw his liver, which grew afresh every night. So Prometheus suffered terribly for his rashness until Hercules came and release him, after slaying the eagle.


In Chinese Legend, fire is not a gift from God, it was discovered by man instead. Suiren first discovered the method of making fire by drilling wood, but he didn't know much about keeping and utilizing fire. While Zhu Rong (also known as Chu Jung) discovered the method of making fire by hitting two stones.


Zhu Rong was born with a red face, he was big, tall and very smart, His name was Li, a son of a tribal leader. Now he is depicted as a proud man clad in armor wielding a sword and riding on a large tiger.


Once, his tribe started a long-distance migration, and he was in charge of keeping the fire, but unfortunately the fire went out by a heavy rain, and it was also very inconvenient to walk with a fire, so he only brought the special rock and wood with him. In the evening, the tribe made the camp on the plain and he tried to make a fire, but he became very angry after tried vainly to drill on the wood without fire, so he threw the stone away. Suddenly the stone hit the rocks, and many sparks splashed out, this inspired Li and he came up a great idea to make fire. He gathered enough reed flower on the rock, then hit the stone on the rock and sparks splashed into the reed flowers, then gently he blew onto it and a flame emerged. Now it was easier to make a fire and didn't need to do everything possible to save the fire. Because of this invention, the Yellow Emperor appointed him Fire Officer.


Zhu Rong was also believed to use fire in war. He helped Yellow Emperor won the battle on the Zhuolu Plain using fire attacks.


Zhu Rong then worshiped as God of fire. He punishes those who break the laws of heaven.


In Chinese mythology there are also stories of Hui Lu, a magician and fire god who kept 100 firebirds in a gourd. By setting them loose, he could start a fire across the whole country.

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