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Ba Xian

by Micha F. Lindemans
The "eight immortals" from Taoist mythology, and among the best known deities. They are the symbols for good fortune throughout China. They represent eight different conditions of life: youth, old age, poverty, wealth, the populace, nobility, the masculine, and the feminine. The earliest descriptions date from the Tang Dynasty (early 7th century), but their present grouping was not established until the Ming Dynasty (founded in 1368).

The immortals are: Zhang Guo-lao, Lu Dong-bin, Cao Guo-jiu, Zhong Li-quan, Li Tie-guai, Han Xian-zi, He Xian-gu, and Lan Cai-he.

The Ba Xian are a favorite theme of artists and are portrayed on fans and porcelain. They also figure prominently in many literary works.

The first four of them are historical figures.

The name of the Ba-Xian in traditional Chinese format.
The name of the Ba-Xian in traditional Chinese format.


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Pa-hsien
  • Pronunciation:
    bah shee-en

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