The Men-Shen are gods of the right and left hand doorways.
They were named after Yu Che and Chhin Shu-pao, two generals of the
This emperor unwisely promised to save a dragon from being beheaded
after it had made a mistake when allocating the rainfall. He failed
to keep his word and in revenge the ghost of the dragon made such a
commotion at the portals of his palace that his two generals, Yu Che
and Chhln Shu-pao volunteered to guard each doorway. The ghost of the
dragon was driven away from the front only to return and lay siege to
the back, which in turn was guarded by Wei Cheng, one of the Emperor's
The ghost eventually left, but from then on the guardians have been
depicted on outside doors.
The Men-Shen who guard the front of the house are portrayed as two warriors
armed with maces, bows and arrows. The god of the right hand doorway
is either black or red featured whilst the god of the left hand doorway
The origins of the Men-Shen were derived from an earlier couple, Shen
Shu and Yu Lei. They were guardians who prevented ghosts from escaping
out of Hell and haunting the living.