Eight Immortals

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Eight_Immortals_Crossing_the_Sea_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_15250.jpg
The Eight Immortals crossing the sea, from Myths and Legends of China, 1922 by E. T. C. Werner. Clockwise in the boat starting from the stern: He Xiangu, Han Xiang Zi, Lan Caihe, Li Tieguai, L Dongbin, Zhongli Quan, Cao Guojiu and outside the boat is Zhang Guo Lao.

The Eight Immortals (八仙 in pinyin: bā xiān; in Wade-Giles: pa hsien) are Chinese deities who are represented as a group and rarely individually. Each Immortal's power can be transferred to a tool of power (法器) that can give life or destroy evil. Together, these eight tools are called "Covert Eight Immortals" (暗八仙 n ~). Most of them are said have born in Tang Dynasty or Song Dynasty. Not only are they worshipped by the Daoists, but they are a popular element in the secular Chinese culture. They live on Penglai Mountain-Island.

The Immortals are:

For their names in Chinese characters and Wade-Giles, see the individual pages in the list above.

Contents

In Literature

The Immortals are the subject of many artistic creations, like paintings and sculptures. Examples of writings about them include:

  • The Yueyang Mansion (《岳陽樓》 yu yāng lo) by Ma Zhiyuan (馬致遠 mǎ zh yuǎn),
  • The Bamboo-leaved Boat (《竹葉船》 zh yi chun) by Fan Zi'an (范子安 fn zǐ ān), and
  • The Willow in the South of the City (《城南柳》 chn nn liǔ) by Gu Zijing (谷子敬 gǔ zǐ jng).
  • The most significant of the writings is The Eight Immortals Depart and Travel to the East (《八仙出處東游記》 bā xiān chī ch dōng yo z) by Wu Yuantai (吳元泰 w yun ta) in Ming Dynasty.
  • There is another work in Ming, by an anonymous writer, called The Eight Immortals Cross the Sea (《八仙過海》 bā xiān gu haǐ). It is about the Immortals on their way to attend the Conference of the Magical Peach (蟠桃會 pn ta hu) and encountered an ocean. Instead of going across by their clouds, L Dongbin suggested that together, they should use their powers to get across. Stemming from this, the Chinese proverb "The Eight Immortals cross the sea, each reveals its divine power" (八仙過海,各顯神通 ~, g xiǎn shn tōng) indicates the situation that everybody shows off their powers to achieve a common goal.

Worship

Established in Song Dynasty, the Xi'an temple Eight Immortals Palace (八仙宮), formerly Eight Immortals Nunnery (八仙庵), where statues of the Immortals can be found in the Hall of Eight Immortals (八仙殿). In Mu-cha (木柵 m zh), Taipei County, Taiwan, there is a temple called South Palace (南宮), nicknamed Eight Immortal Temple (八仙廟 ~ mio).

Other sets of Eight Immortals

See also

zh-tw:八仙

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