A gift from a friend
Florence Tang, a colleague at Merer University Swilley Library brought this figure back from an October 2002 trip to China. While Florence's family is originally from Taiwan, settling in Chicago, her grandmother lives in Beijing.
Guan Di is a Dharma protector from the Chinese Buddhist tradition. He was a famous Chinese general from the Three Kingdoms Period. He was well-respected by the Chinese people because he was a virtuous and courageous general who exemplified the Confucian ethics: loyalty to one's country; respect for one's parents; compassion for one's fellow man; faithful to one's friends.
Guan Di died during an attempt to breakthrough enemy's lines. The Chinese people built many shrines throughout the country to honor the beloved general. In subsequent dynasties, the Chinese emperors had deified him and honored him as the God of War and the ideal scholar warrior. It was said that Guan Di had undergone Buddhist Ordination while he was alive, and he had been adopted by Chinese Buddhist as a Dharma Protector.
He is also regarded as a god of prosperity (wealth) and martial spirits. Both Chinese Buddhists and Taoists ask for his blessings and assistances in times of need.