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Han Xian-zi

by Micha F. Lindemans
Han Xian-zi is one of the popular Ba Xian. He is generally believed to be a nephew of Han Yu -- a famous literary figure and statesman of the Tang Dynasty -- who had been entrusted with Han Xian-zi's education.

He had a stormy temper and possessed various supernatural abilities. Once he caused peonies of many colors to blossom forth in the middle of winter. On the petals of these peonies appeared the following poem: "Clouds veil the peaks of Qin-lin mountain. Where is your home? Deep lies the snow on the Lan Pass and the horses will go no further." Han saw a hidden meaning in these lines, but his uncle dismissed them as nonsense. Soon after, Han Yu fell in disgrace with the emperor and was banished from court. When he reached the Lan Pass the snow was so deep that he could not go further. Then Han Xian-zi appeared and cleared away the snow. He told his uncle that he would regain his official post and return to the bosom of his family, which prophecy soon came true.

Han Xian-zi gained immortality when he fell from a peach tree. He is usually portrayed holding a (transverse) flute, a bouquet of flowers or flower basket, or a peach.

The name of Han Xian-zi in traditional Chinese format.
The name of Han Xian-zi in traditional Chinese format.

Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Han Hsiang-tzu

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