THE EIGHT CHINESE IMMORTALS
Ba Xian [Pa-hsien]
In Chinese Daoism one will find The Eight Chinese Immortals. This series honors these eight legendary beings who are based on historical characters. These beings, at different periods and for various reasons, each attained immortality. Each one of the immortals represents a different condition in life, i.e., poverty, wealth, aristocracy, plebianism, age, youth, masculinity and femininity.
The Eight Chinese Immortals were LI Tieguai, Han Zhongli ,Lan Caihe, Zhang Guolao,He Xiangu,LuDongbing,Han Xiangzi and CaoGuojiu. Each of the immortals bear one of the attributes of the eight Daoist emblems. Stories of the Eight Immortals can be found in Chinese artforms, in folklore, drama, novels, and woodblock prints. The Eight Chinese Immortals often appeared as decoration on porcelain together with Shoulao the Star God of longevity.
In China, the number eight is highly esteemed. Eight means "prosperity" which makes this auspicious number play a large part in many Chinese folk traditions. In addition, in Chinese Bagua Zhang martial arts training, the eight parts of the body and the eight directions away from one's body are significant. Historically, the number also refers to the eight stages of life, the eight precious items of Confucianism and the symbolic eight life aspirations or Bagua of Feng Shui. Eight is the numeric basis of Daoism whose cosmology centers on the interplay of eight trigrams of the I Ching, out of which the 64 hexagrams are generated.