The main god I’m worshiping currently is Guan Di (aka Guan Gong). A blogger named Phil who lives in Hong Kong wrote an interesting post about a commonly-circulated “fact” (which may well be an urban myth) about the symbolism of the positioning of his weapon:
I thought I should mention a ‘fact’ I heard many years ago and recently sprang back into my mind because I think I spotted an example of it (I say fact but actually I have no idea if it is true or some sort of urban myth). […]
He’s usually, mistakenly, referred to in English texts as the God of War but actually his role in Chinese worship is more related to his reput[at]ion for integrity and right[e]ousness. He also happens to be the god who is worshipped [sic] on both sides of the criminal divide. Police and triads worship him alike.
This leads me on to the fact I was talking about. His symbolism – integrity and righteousness etc – is obviously interpreted in vastly different ways by these latter two groups and to represent the two sides to this interpretation/worship each group places the god’s halberd (his long spear pole with its sword attached to the end) in one or the other hand. The halberd in the left hand is how the triads have their statues of Kuan Ti positioned, and the police (and all other law abiding groups and individuals) have their statues positioned so that the halberd is in the right hand.
Phil wrote the above-quoted post after he visited a restaurant, and noticed a particular detail about their shrine to Guan Di.
Humorously, Phil says, “Hmmm – don’t think I’ll be complaining about the food or service in that place again.”