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Hoi Fan, ‘The Sea Banner’

Unlike all other Taoist Gods, Hoi Fan appears twice in any set of Mien Taoist paintings. In the ‘the Sea Banner’, Hoi Fan a powerful priest and magician, riding a serpent, is performing an exorcism. In one hand he holds a magic dagger of the kind used by Mien priests in exorcism ceremonies. In his other hand he holds a small bowl of pure bright water, used by priests to purify and ward off evil influences. His conical hat is on the tip of the serpent’s tail and one of his boots is seen floating above his head. Oral tradition has it that he lost his boot while crossing a river (or the sea), but his serpent was able to recover it. The two horsemen at the bottom hold magical staffs and blow horns to summon helpful spirit troops.