-- Ruyi Jingu Bang
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Ruyi Jingu Bang

Ruyi Jingu Bang refers to the magical staff wielded by the Chinese Monkey King, Sun Wukong ("Monkey Awakened to Emptiness"). The staff could change size based on his wishes, and he frequently wished it to be the size of a needle so he could tuck it behind his ear but when the situation called for it, he could make the staff 20 feet tall or more. The staff goes by many other names as well:

Staff of Sun Wukong
Gokuu Pole (Fuun Gokuu Ninden means "The God of Monkey")
"As You Will Gold Banded Cudgel"

In the book Journey to the West, Sun Wukong is an immortal and he felt clumsy wielding mortal weapons, so he swam to the Dragon palace of the Eastern Sea to visit the Dragon King and ask him for a weapon that suited him. Ao Guang the Dragon King offered him a large sword, but Sun Wukong said that he did not know how to wield a sword. Next the Dragon King offered him a nine pronged spear weighing 3,600 pounds, but Sun Wukong said it was too light and did not suit him. Next the Dragon King offered him a magical halberd that could ward off spells weighing 7,200 pounds, but Sun Wukong said it too was too light.

Ao Guang explained that the halberd was the heaviest weapon in his treasury and he had nothing else to offer, but his wife told him to offer the Monkey King the pillar of iron that anchors the Milky Way in place. No one in the kingdom could move it, so they swam to where it lay and Sun Wukong saw a pillar of solid iron 20 feet tall anchoring the seas in place. The ends were rimmed with golden bands and inlaid on one of them were the words, "as you will--gold banded cudgel: weight 13,500 pounds". Sun Wukong seized it with both hands and said it was too thick and too long, at which point the pillar of iron immediately became smaller and thinner. Excitedly, Sun Wukong said the pillar should be smaller and thinner still and it obeyed his wishes.

Having found a suitable weapon for an immortal, Sun Wukong asked the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea one final favor; that he should have armor befitting his new weapon. Ao Guang had no armor to give, but Sun Wukong was insistent and Ao Guang summoned his brothers to equip the Monkey King. He received a pair of cloud walking shoes from Ao Shun, the Dragon King of the Northern Sea, a suit of golden chain mail from Ao Run, the Dragon King of the Western Sea, and a phoenix winged gold helmet from Ao Qin, the Dragon King of the soutern sea.

China, Journey to the West, Mythology, Staff, Weapon

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