The story is set in the era of the declining Shang Dynasty (1600 BC–1046 BC) and the rise of the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC–256 BC). It intertwines numerous elements of Chinese mythology, including deities, immortals and spirits.
The novel is a romanticized retelling of the overthrow of King Zhou, last ruler of the Shang Dynasty, by King Wu, who would establish the Zhou Dynasty in place of Shang. The story integrates oral and written tales of many Chinese mythological figures who are involved in the struggle as well. These figures include human heroes, immortals and various spirits (usually represented in avatar form like vixens, and pheasants, and sometimes inanimate objects such as a pipa).
Bewitched by his concubine Daji, who is actually a vixen spirit in disguise as a beautiful woman, King Zhou of Shang oppresses his people and persecutes those who oppose him, including his own subjects who dare to speak up to him. King Wu of Zhou, assisted by his strategist Jiang Ziya, rallies an army to overthrow the tyrant and restore peace and order. Throughout the novel, battles are waged between the kingdoms of Shang and Zhou, with both sides calling upon various supernatural beings, including deities, immortals, demons, spirits, and humans with magical abilities, to aid them in the war. Yuanshi Tianzun bestows upon Jiang Ziya the Fengshen Bang, a list that empowers Jiang Ziya to invest the gods of Heaven. The heroes of Zhou and some of their fallen enemies from Shang are eventually endowed with heavenly ranking and essentially elevated to their roles as gods, hence the title of the novel.
In this scroll, we see the white-haired General of the Zhou on the right confronting the General of the Shang on the left before battle.
Age: Kangxi 1662-1722 (Qing)
Size: image 17" x 12.25" (43 x 31 cm); overall 74" x 25.25" (188 x 64 cm)
Media: Pigment on silk
Price: $5,500.00 USD