Friday, July 25, 2008

Chinese Guichai - Ox Head and Horse Face

According to Chinese mythology, Hades is full of creatures and beings that have specific tasks. There are the judges and those who are waiting to be judged. Then there are various demons and other ghoulish beings that would lead those who are judged to their respective places or carry out the punishments.

Two of those are Ox-Head and Horse-Face. Ox-Head and Horse-Face are believed to be soldiers of King Yama. Their job is to bring the spirits of the dead for judgment in Hades. Chinese call them Guichai while the Thais call them Yama-toot. Although their task is similar to the Black and White Wuchang, Ox-Head and Horse-Face are lower in rank than the Wuchang pair.

The story of the origin of the Ox-Head and Horse-Face begins when there used to be a horse and a buffalo that were worked to death by their masters. When these two creatures reached Hades, King Yama took pity on them and made them into his soldiers. They retained their animal heads and have been King Yama’s loyal servants since then. It goes to show that when you give out kindness, you’ll be given your just rewards.

Some say that Ox-Head and Horse-Face are just figments of imagination. Yet there are those who would attest to their existence. There’s a story about a certain 70 year old guy named Huang who didn’t believe that such creatures existed until the day he had a chance to meet them.

The story goes that Huang and his wife were waiting for the elevator to go down. Then Huang was conscious of two sets of eyes looking at him. He turned his head and saw two large guys standing at a corner. They looked fierce and have pale faces. Then the elevator came. Just as Huang and his wife are going in it, the two large figures went in ahead of them, along with 5 more persons. As the elevator is already full, Huang and his wife didn’t enter in it.

As fate had it, three seconds after the elevator doors closed, there came a loud crashing sound. The elevator cables snapped and none of the people in it survived. What’s strange about the accident is that investigators found only 5 bodies in the crash. Huang is certain that there are 7 people in it when the doors closed. Huang now believes that the two large figures are Ox-Head and Horse-Face.

Scholars say that Ox-Head and Horse-Face represents Aging and Sickness. A stubborn ox best represents sickness. No matter how well one takes care of his body, sickness would pull someone towards death, one way or another.

A one track minded racehorse represents aging. It would carry its jockey to the finish line as fast as the horse could. Just like aging, no one can stop the horse until it reaches the finish line, which is death. Since birth, we are already on that horse.

No matter how hard we might try, we can’t get out of the grasps of the Ox-Head and the Horse-Face.