Li Hong (Taoist eschatology)

Li Hong (Chinese: 李洪) is a messianic figure in religious Taoism prophecies to appear at the end of the world cycle to rescue the chosen people, who would be distinguished by certain talismans, practices and virtues. Myths surrounding Li Hong took shape in literature during the Han dynasty. He is depicted in the Taoist Divine Incantations Scripture as an ideal leader who would reappear to set right heaven (tian) and earth () at a time of upheaval and chaos.[1] Li Hong is sometimes considered to be an avatar or reincarnation of Laozi, with whom he shares the surname Li.[2][3]

Prophesies concerning Li Hong's appearance have been used to legitimize numerous rebellions and insurgencies, all of which rallied around a Li Hong.[4] These were particularly prevalent during the fifth century, and continued to appear until the Song dynasty. [5]


  1. Anna K. Seidel. "Perfect Ruler in Early Taoist Messianism: Lao-tzu and Li Hung," History of Religions, 9 (Nov., 1969 - Feb., 1970), pp. 216-247
  2. Stephen Bokenkamp, Early Daoist Scriptures (Berkley: University of California, 1999).
  3. Anna K., Seidel (1969). La Divinisation de Lao Tseu dans le Taoisme des Han. École française d’Extrême-Orient. pp. 70, 98, 119.
  4. Eugene Yuejin Wang. Shaping the Lotus Sutra: Buddhist visual culture in medieval China (Seattle: University of Washington, 2005)
  5. Isabelle Robinet, Phyllis Brooks, Taoism: growth of a religion, (Stanford University Press: 1997), pp. 162-163.

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