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About the Piece
Based on an old photograph of a sailor having a tattoo. The tattooist etches a loose depiction of the Heibai Wuchang
Heibai Wuchang, or Hak Bak Mo Seong, literally "Black and White Impermanence", are two Deities in Chinese folk religion in charge of escorting the spirits of the dead to the underworld.
In folklore, the White Guard's name is Xie Bi'an which can be interpreted as "Those who make amends ("Xie") will always be at peace ("Bi'an")". The Black Guard's name is Fan Wujiu, which conversely means that "Those who commit crimes ("Fan") will have no salvation ("Wujiu")".
In some instances, the Heibai Wuchang are represented as a single being and depending on the person it encounters, can appear as either a fortune deity who rewards the person for doing good deeds or a malevolent deity who punishes the person for committing evil.