Zhu Sheng Niang Niang, also known as Zhu Sheng Ma, is the Mother of Birth and Fertility. She blesses women to become pregnant and protects children. In some areas, believers call her “Lady of Ling-Shui”. The origin of Zhu Sheng Niang Niang is from the 16th century Chinese novel Feng Shen Bang (“The Investiture of the Gods”). Upon the order of the Jade Emperor, Jiang Ji Ya went to Tri-Celestial Island and ordered the three celestials Yun Xiao, Qiong Xiao, and Bi Xiao to be in charge of Hun Yuan Jin Dou (Jin Dou means birth tub).
Yun Xiao, Qiong Xiao, and Bi Xiao are called the Three Celestial Ladies, who, according to legend, are the apprentices of Qui Ling Sheng Mu. Nowadays, Zhu Sheng Niang Niang may refer to all three. As Zhu Sheng Niang Niang was never officially recognized by Imperial decree, she is never depicted wearing an the hat of an official. She is commonly painted wearing her hair in a bun – a style common in the Tang Dynasty, with plump cheeks, a wide nose, cherry lips, and long and narrow eyes. An record book of all child births is in her left hand, a pen is in her right, and she wears women’s clothes typical of the Han, Ming, or Qing dynasties.