T’ou Chen Niang Niang

T’ou Chen Niang Niang

Lady of the Thousand Flowers



The reference to the thousand flowers may sound romantic, but T’ou Chen Niang Niang is a spirit of smallpox. The red flowers she owns are smallpox pustules. Unlike other smallpox spirits who also serve other functions, T’ou Chen Niang Niang is almost exclusively associated with this disease. She is interested in little else. She transmits smallpox but can also guarantee a patient’s recovery.

T’ou Chen Niang Niang loves to travel; her presence is manifest in the smallpox she spreads. She is petitioned to travel elsewhere and stay far away. Should she arrive, however, magical steps are then taken:

• Burn incense and substantial quantities of spirit money (available from feng shui suppliers and in stores carrying Chinese spiritual goods) in her honor. Offer her cooling foods.

• Petition her extremely politely (she’s touchy and gets offended easily) to oversee the patient’s recovery.

• Should the patient survive: Place T’ou Chen Niang Niang’s image on a paper boat or chair; then place these on a paper phoenix. Burn all on a bed of straw to bid the Lady of the Thousand Flowers farewell.

Should the patient die, do whatever you want to do with her offerings. T’ou Chen Niang Niang is then traditionally cursed off the premises.


T’ou Chen Niang Niang travels accompanied by two servants.


Babalu Ayé; Daruma; Sitala and the Glossary entry for Spirit Money


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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