It was said that Zhong Kui (鍾馗) was born in the Tang Dynasty, and the folklore described him as the ghost slayer. The story was retold and widespread in the early period of Qing Dynasty. Rumors had that he achieved the highest score in Ancient Chinese imperial examination, but slayed himself out of disappointment and anguish of being jerked by henchmen, aides, and officials for his ugliness in front of the Emperor at the palace court. After his death, he became a messenger of the Netherworld, and a Taoist Deity to this day.
Before the apparition of Zhong Kui, an enormous bat would be spotted swirling and hovering in the sky, then out of a sudden, the thickset legendary man with glaring eyes was seen patrolling and being flanked by a general of battlefield and an officer of wisdom and maneuver. In this folklore, they were confronted with garden-like spirits who were deprived of their moral virtues and corrupted with vice and evil thoughts. Those included spirit of lust, hard-headed spirit of shamelessness, spirit of roguishness, spirit of parsimony, spirit of gluttony, and so forth.
It would be classified as a satirical and humorous piece for general readers, similar to The Journey to the West, aiming at the nepotism, ineffectiveness, bureaucracies, and miasma infiltrating in the palace court. When an incapable official with imbecility was under the auspices of officials of senior ranks without any contributions and sacrifices for the populace of the country, restrained citizens were all on their own to struggle and fight. Apart from that, it also insinuated the fact that people must have the responsibility and best thoughts to govern themselves and families with moral virtues then to think of passing on the fame and wealth to their posterity when governing others and climbing up the ladder.
P.S. I think this would be interesting to share the story; and it’s welcoming if anyone would like point out some inaccuracies or confusions in this post, if there’re any!