The bump on the head of a Chinese figure represents a deity who controls longevity. The god of long life is usually depicted with a high forehead and a peach symbol, representing immortality. He is also shown with a gourd, which is supposedly filled with the elixir of life. This deity is often confused with other Taoist gods.
God of Happiness
The Old Man God of Happiness, a Chinese figure with a bump on the head, is the patron of enlightenment and prosperity. He is associated with Feng shui and Daoism. His festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 3rd lunar month and the fifth day of the New Year. He is considered the closest deity to Santa Claus in the pantheon of Chinese deities.
This deity’s story is based on a tale of the Shandong man, who received the ability to fly on the clouds. He lived in the province of Gansu and was gifted with a flying kite to help him soar. In addition to his heavenly abilities, this deity is known as one of the Eight Immortals.
Another important deity in Chinese culture is the ‘God of Wealth and Prosperity’. In Chinese mythology, there are three candidates for the title of ‘God of Prosperity’. One of them is Zhao Gong Ming, who lived as a hermit on the Emei mountain during the fall of the Shang dynasty. He wore a red collar and a yellow robe and often carried a lotus. The Jade Emperor made him the god of wealth. His images are often paired with other deities.
The goddess of children is also associated with happiness. Avalokitesvara is similar to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Christian theology, but is also pure and compassionate. The youthful Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva in Indian Buddhism is considered the reincarnation of this deity. His worship became so intense that it reached the level of fanaticism in the later Han dynasty. Often, this deity is represented with two young girls who attend her and are accompanied by phoenixes and bluebirds.
God of Longevity
This Chinese figure with a bump on its head is often associated with the God of Longevity, Shou Lao. He is one of three Daoist gods and is associated with good luck, prosperity, and long life. He is typically pictured with a peach or gourd and is sometimes accompanied by a deer.
The bump on the head deity, who is also called the Laughing Buddha, brings good luck and abundance. This deity was based on a monk who lived over 10 centuries ago and is considered an incarnation of the bodhisattva Maitreya, who will eventually emerge.