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Eight Sages (Immortals)

Either singly or in groups the Eight Sages also called the Eight Immortals in Chinese mythology, or Ba Zu Shi or Ba Xian, are one of the most popular subjects of representation in China; their portraits are to be seen everywhere - on porcelain vases, teapots, teacups, fans, scrolls, embroidery, etc. Images of them are made in porcelain, earthenware, roots, wood, metals. The term ‘Eight Immortals’ is figuratively used f or happiness. The number eight has become lucky in association with this tradition, and persons or things eight in number are graced accordingly. Thus we read of reverence shown to the ‘Eight Genii Table’ (Pa Hsien Cho), the ‘Eight Genii Bridge’ (Ba Xian Ch’iao), ‘Eight Genii Vermicelli’ (Ba Xian Mien), the ‘Eight Genii of the Wine-cup’ (Tin Chung Ba Xian) - wine-bibbers of the T’ang dynasty celebrated by Tu Fu, the poet. They are favourite subjects of romance, and special objects of adoration. In them we see “the embodiment of the ideas of perfect but imaginary happiness which possess the minds of the Chinese people.” Three of them (Chung-li Ch’üan, Chang Kuo, and Lü Yen) were historical personages; the others are mentioned only in fables or romances. They represent all kinds of people - old, young, male, female, civil, military, rich, poor, afflicted, cultured, noble. They are also representative of early, middle, and later historical periods.

Note: 8 Sages 八祖师,
EIGHT-IMMORTALS: Eight Chinese individuals who, by pure chance, achieved Immortality via a bizarre set of events. The cast, not necessarily in order of appearance, is as follows: CAO-GUOJIU — Royal Outcast HAN-XIANGZI — The Flying Philosopher HE-XIANGU — Self-raising Flower LAN-CAIHE — Drunk and Disorientated LI-TIEGUAI — Body Snatcher LU-DONGBIN — Tactical Withdrawal ZHANG-GUOLAO — Stubborn Old Mule ZHONG-LIQUAN — Explosive Revelations See their individual entries for the thrilling details of How To Become Immortal. Each of them represents a different aspect of DAOist perfection. Over the centuries, these characters formed a team of kindred souls. Not having the usual Godly pedigree, they couldn't just mix with the Gods in Heaven, who are notoriously snobbish about such things. So instead they set up home at PENGLAI-SHAN, a mountainous island located in the mysterious East. As told in many famous DAOist legends, they embarked on many incredible adventures and quests — taking on dragons and demons, righting wrongs and putting things to rights. And every so often, a mortal such as HUAI-NANZU or LI-BABAI would come along for the ride, hoping for a swig from the Bottle of Immortality. We can't wait for the television mini-series. But we'll have to, as no-one will ever come up with the cash to let us write it. But we're open to offers. Location : China Gender : Both male and female Category : Deity Pronunciation : Bar Shee-yen Alternative names : BA-XIAN, PA-HSIEN
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Note: 8 Sages 八祖师, #01 Han Xiang Zi Zu Shi, 韩湘子祖师,
He is the Zero-gravity God. HAN-XIANGZI was a highly-educated philosopher who fell out of a peach tree. If he was testing gravity, it didn't work. He fell upwards — in contravention of Gravitational Law, Section C, Paragraph 12. As luck would have it, the peach tree just happened to be sacred. Was it the blessed Peach Tree of Immortality, which bears fruit once every 3,000 years? If so, he was a very naughty boy for climbing it. Grabbing at a sacred branch bestowed immediate immortality. And now he hangs around with the other EIGHT-IMMORTALS, playing his flute and making the most profound observations. He is also the patron of the middle classes. Area or people: n/a Location : China Gender : Male Category : Deity Pronunciation : Harn Shee-yen Dzur Alternative names : HAN-XIANG-ZI, HAN-XIANGI, HAN-HSIANG-TZU, HAN-HSIEN-TZU Attributes : Coming soon Mystic number : 10168 (a)
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Note: 8 Sages 八祖师, #02 He Xian Gu Zu Shi. 何仙姑祖师,
"Darlings, you simply must try some!" HE-XIANGU is not a He, but a She. And you can tell. One day, trying out new recipes, she ground up a shiny gem, which was more than likely a stone from a Peach of Immortality. (LU-DONGBIN is rumored to have sneaked it into her shopping basket.) She mixed the powder into a cordial and presto! "Heshee Peachee, the flavour that stays with you forever." HE-XIANGU found after a sip or two that she could fly over mountains. At first she used this talent to fill her larder with new and exotic fruits from places far away. But it wasn't long before she spotted other immortals on her travels and threw her lot in with them. With her emblem the self-raising lotus flower, she is the patron deity of virgins and unmarried ladies. She is also a celebrity chef and Goddess of Housekeeping. Which is all the more remarkable because after a slap-up lunch with LU-DONGBIN she never felt the need to eat again. Area or people: n/a Location : China Gender : Female Category : Deity Pronunciation : Huh Shee-yen Goo Alternative names : HE-XIAN-GU, HE-HSIEN-KU, HO-HSIEN-KU Attributes : Coming soon Mystic number : 10104 (a)
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Note: 8 Sages 八祖师, #03 Lan Cai He Zu Shi. 蓝采和祖师,
As eccentric as they come, he's a total oddball. LAN-CAIHE was originally a busker, beggar and herb seller. He was also very effeminate, and usually drunk. (He or she may even have been a female transvestite.) His or her fortune changed dramatically after helping a beggar (whom rumor suggests may have been LI-TIEGUAI in disguise). LAN-CAIHE washed his boils and sores, nursed the crippled beggar back to health, and was rewarded with immortality. With a bizarre dress sense, LAN-CAIHE wears only one boot, and a belt made of wood. In the summer he wraps up warm with a thick coat, but this is discarded in the winter in preference for sleeping semi-naked in the snow. This all begins to make sense when you realise he (or she) is the patron deity of the impoverished. Location : China Gender : Male Category : Deity Pronunciation : Larn Tsuy Huh Alternative names : LAN-CAI-HE, LAN-ZAIHE, LAN-T'SAI-HO
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Note: 8 Sages 八祖师, #04 Zhang Guo Lao Zu Shi. 张果老祖师,
He's the original black belt at Origami. This splendid old character did it his way. He simply refused to die. He did drop dead once, but just got up again and carried on as if nothing had happened. That's the kind of never-say-die spirit we approve of. Furthermore, he had an amazing magic donkey which could be folded up like a piece of paper when not in use. No parking fines for him. ZHANG-GUOLAO is now revered as the patron of the elderly. If only he would turn his thoughts to paper aeroplanes, he could revolutionise the aeronautics industry. Location : China Gender : Male Category : Deity Pronunciation : Jharng Gwor Laow Alternative names : ZHANG-GUO-LAO, CHANG-KUO-LAO
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Note: 8 Sages 八祖师, #05 Lv Dong Bin Zu Shi. 吕洞宾祖师,
patron of scholars. "Show me The Way... to the pub." LU-DONGBIN was of princely descent. In his privileged student days, he'd been given a magic sword by a passing dragon. He should have been riding high on the crest of a wave. But one day, after falling asleep in a pub, he dreamt of his future life. Things were going from bad to worse with him eventually being killed by bandits. To escape his fate, he decided to adopt The Way (DAO) of Daoist faith, and became a buddy of ZHONG-LIQUAN, who was already treading that path. Not only did he escape the bandits, but he became immortal. ZHONG-LIQUAN must have given him a nip of that Immortality Elixir. Moral: choose your drinking partners wisely. Area or people: n/a Location : China Gender : Male Category : Deity Pronunciation : Loo Dorng Been Alternative names : LU-DONG-BIN, LONG-DONG-BIN, LU-TUNG-PIN, LU-YAN
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Note: 8 Sages 八祖师, #06 Han Zhong Li Zu Shi. 汉钟离祖师,
he invented weapons of mass revelation. Fat, bald and cheery with a long beard, he was fond of dabbling with alchemy, and became a bit of a hermit to pursue the esoteric. His peaceful dabbling came to an end when one particularly esoteric experiment caused an explosion in his dwelling. The walls shook and a large crack appeared, exposing to view a hidden container. This contained a goodly dosage of the Elixir Of Life. Whether it was in tablet or liquid form we can't say, but it more than compensated for the damage. Because ZHONG-LIQUAN, who it would seem would try anything once, became an Immortal. Perhaps because of his explosive capabilities, he is also the God of Military Operations. For some reason his emblem is a fan made of feathers. Location : China Gender : Male Category : Deity Pronunciation : Jhorng Lee Choo-arn Alternative names : ZHUAN-ZHONGLI, ZHONG-LI-QUAN, CHUNG-LI-CHUAN
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Note: 8 Sages 八祖师, #07 Tie Guai Li Zu Shi. 铁拐李祖师,
he's famously known as "Li with the Iron Crutch". This is an out-of-the-gutter experience. Ascetic and mystic, LI-TIEGUAI travelled far and wide. Not caring for the public transport of the time, he liked to float whither he wished minus body. One day, his spirit paid a visit to LAO-ZI and learned the secrets of Immortality. He arrived back to find his body had been cremated a little prematurely and was now a heap of ashes. In this situation you need to find a replacement body very rapidly indeed, or your chances of getting into Heaven are zilch. The best LI-TIEGUAI could find on the spur of the moment was a dead beggar in a ditch. Worse still, upon entry and activation, he discovered that the body was lame and needed support from an iron crutch. But beggars can't be choosers — and LI-TIEGUAI was throroughly beggared. He knew it was now or never — and, as it turned out, 'now' meant for ever and ever. He'd become immortal. So he made the best of it. And now, in his immortal and immutable state, he is very popular with the disabled. In fact he's reached the status of patron diety to the sick. Area or people: n/a Location : China Gender : Male Category : Deity Pronunciation : Lee Tee-yeh Gwuy Alternative names : LI-TIE-GUAI, LI-T'IEH-KUAI, LI-XUAN
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Note: 8 Sages 八祖师, #08 Cao Guo Jiu Zu Shi. 曹国舅祖师,
His motto is: "Here by Royal Disappointment." Brother of a Song Dynasty Empress, CAO-GUOJIU hated all the royal corruption going on and left the court in disgust. He went to meditate in the mountains, where his golden tablet of introduction ('I am the brother of Empress Cao and hereby command the utmost respect') was not a lot of use. But he did meet LU-DONGBIN, who coached him in finding The Way (DAO) and immortality. No doubt the Elixir of Immortality came in handy again. (It's got to be a drink, hasn't it? You wouldn't pop pills from a stranger.) With his new-found status, CAO-GUOJIU was happy to become the patron Godlet of Actors and Performance. He also plays a mean set of Chinese Maracas. Area or people: n/a Location : China Gender : Male Category : Deity Pronunciation : Tsaow Gwor-Jee-yoo Alternative names : KAO-GUOJIU, TS'AO-KUO-CHIU Attributes : Coming soon Mystic number : 13417 (a)
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