If you missed my last article on Vulcan, you can find it here.
Erlang Shen, also known as Yang Jian, is the Chinese god of engineering, war, hunting, brewing, and farming. He is a protector of children and prostitutes and even created Chinese drama. He is the Heaven’s greatest warrior and always fights on the side of justice. With his tremendous strength, he can cut a mountain in two. Just as an interesting name translation, Erlang Shen translates to godly second son (er= two, lang= boy, shen= god).
Half of Erlang Shen’s parentage is up for debate. His mother is Princess Yaoji, sister to the Jade Emperor and Goddess of the Realm of Desire. His father is one of two men. In some, he is the scholar Yang Tianyou. In others, it is the engineer Li Bing. He had an older brother, Yang Jiao, and a younger sister, Yang Chan. I didn’t see anything about a wife, concubine, or consort.
Erlang Shen’s appearance is immortalized in writing in the Chinese novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en. He describes Erlang Shen as refined and noble, with ears to his shoulders and shining eyes. He had on an ornate hot with three peaks and phoenixes, a pale yellow robe, and boots lined with golden cloth. He had dragons coiled around his socks and a jade belt with eight jewels. His weapons were a curved bow and three pointed, double-edged spear. Most notable in his appearance, though, is his third eye.
Erlang Shen is a master of multiple martial arts styles. His bow and spear are not for decoration. He is absolutely deadly with them. His strength is incredible, and his third eye allows him to see through both evil spirits and lies. In some legends, he can throw fire and lightning. He proves this by freeing his mother and slaying multiple dragons. He even went up against and fought alongside Sun Wukong, the Monkey King.
Erlang Shen’s mother, as I said, is Princess Yaoji, Goddess of the Realm of Desire. Her job is to ensure the affairs between the immortals and mortals stay balanced. In the version of the myth with the scholar, Yaoji was running after a dragon that had escaped the heavenly prison and was wreaking havoc on the earth. The dragon managed to hurt the princess’s heart. When Yang Tianyou came across Yaoji, he gave her part of his heart to heal her own. Whether it was with the scholar or engineer, after falling in love, they had three kids, Yang Jian being both the middle child and the second son. This was against the rules, and Princess Yaoji knew it. For her transgressions, her husband and two of her children were put to death, and she was imprisoned under Tai Mountain. When Erlang Shen was old enough, he freed his mother in some sources by cutting a mountain in half with his spear. In others, he threw lightning bolts. Either way, the result was the same, she was free.
Erlang Shen slays a number of dragons and is always on the side of justice and right. He makes sense in a game like Smite. He can defeat any foe. Have you played him in Smite? What do you think of playing as him? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time, have fun storming the castle!