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Brocade Cassock


In the Chinese epic, Journey to the West, the brocade cassock is a treasure given to Emperor Taizong by the Bodhisattva Guanyin. The emperor in turn gave it to the priest Sanzang for his journey.

Quote from Chapter 16:

"If it is worn, all demons are extinguished;
When donned it sends all monsters down to hell.
It was made by the hands of heavenly Immortals,
And none but a true monk should dare put it on."


The cassock was the cause of great trouble in Chapter 16 when it was greatly coveted by the monks of the Guanyin Monastery. The monks had collected hundreds of cassocks, but Sanzang's brocade cassock was finer than all of them. In their greed they planned to kill him and take the cassock for themselves. Unable to match the physical prowess of Sanzang's disciple, Sun Wukong, they instead locked Sanzang inside the monastery and set fire to the main hall.

Sun Wukong borrowed a fireproof cloak to protect Sanzang, and showing his mischievous side helped spread the fire to the rest of the monastery burning down the entire complex. In the ensuing chaos, a demon called the Black Wind King stole the cassock. Sun Wukong tracked him down and fought him for the cassock, but he was unable to defeat him in combat. Instead he enlisted the help of Bodhisattva Guanyin who converted the Black Wind King and allowed him to protect her island as a guardian.

China, Journey to the West, Mythology, Torso


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