Friday, July 1, 2011
Stuff Ya Didn't Know-Tengu
Today our guest you may never have heard of before is the tengu.
These half-man, half bird creatures were found in the Shinto religion of Japan. Their appearance varies, sometimes they have both the body of a man and the face of a bird; in others they are men with wings, claws for feet, and beak-like noses.
These mischievous creatures are blamed for teaching humans the art of war and how to use weapons. There are tales of a tengu possessing a human during battle, endowing him with great skill. When the tengu leaves, the warrior has no memory of what happened.
During the Middle Ages the Shinto based tengu were at odds with the Buddhists, they would often try to tempt, fool, or carry off Buddhist priests and often were blamed for setting fire to Buddhist temples.
In response, the Buddhists forbade the worship of tengu and even had a special place in their spiritual world- "tengu road" that was reserved for hypocritical priests who had forsaken their vows.
Sources: Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference, Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures