chinese entry 4: Jiangshi


Jiangshi (殭屍) literally meaning “stiff” or “hard” are zombie like creatures of Chinese mythology. The name is often translated as hopping zombie/vampire, as they move by stiffly hopping forward with their arms stretched out for balance. This is caused by the stiffening of the body (rigor mortis) after humans die. They have pale blue/ greenish skin, which has been speculated to be caused by a fungus. Jiangshi hop around at night looking for victims to suck the life force or qi out of. They are only ever out at night to reduce decay and as result, flee whenever they hear a rooster cry, signaling the sunrise. They can also be repelled using the wood of a peach tree, the sound of a black donkeys’ hooves, and mirrors. Jiangshi are said to be created due to improper burials, necromancy/magic rituals, suicide, or the possession of a dead body. The origin of Jiangshi comes from the practice of “corpse driving” from ancient China. When a family’s son was far away and died either as a worker or soldier, their bodies would be sent back to the family. Some poorer families how ever, cold not afford to have their sons body retrieved, so instead they would hire a Taoist priest to assist them. The priest would reanimate the corpse using a sacred ritual that bound the spirit to the body. He would then give the Jiangshi a set of instructions to hop home. Unfortunately, many of these Jiangshi don’t end up arriving to their destination and end up causing trouble along the way. Jiangshi were almost if not always male, and female jiangshi are extremely rare. This young lady was most likely turned into a jianghshi on purpose for other nefarious reasons.

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