Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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 àn ~). 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:
- Immortal Woman He (He Xiangu),
- Royal Uncle Cao (Cao Guojiu),
- Iron-crutch Li (Li Tieguai),
- Lan Caihe,
- Lü Dongbin,
- Philosopher Han Xiang (Han Xiang Zi),
- Elder Zhang Guo (Zhang Guo Lao), and
- Zhongli Quan.
- The Yueyang Mansion (《岳陽樓》 yuè yāng loù) by Ma Zhiyuan (馬致遠 mǎ zhì yuǎn),
- The Bamboo-leaved Boat (《竹葉船》 zhú yiè chuán) by Fan Zi'an (范子安 fàn zǐ ān), and
- The Willow in the South of the City (《城南柳》 chén nán liǔ) by Gu Zijing (谷子敬 gǔ zǐ jìng).
- 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 chù dōng yoú zì) by Wu Yuantai (吳元泰 wú yuán taì) 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 guò haǐ). It is about the Immortals on their way to attend the Conference of the Magical Peach (蟠桃會 pán taó huì) and encountered an ocean. Instead of going across by their clouds, Lü 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 ~, gè xiǎn shén tōng) indicates the situation that everybody shows off their powers to achieve a common goal.
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 mù zhà), Taipei County, Taiwan, there is a temple called South Palace (南宮), nicknamed Eight Immortal Temple (八仙廟 ~ miào).
Other sets of Eight Immortals
- The Eight Immortals of Huainan
- The Eight Immortals from Sichuan
- The Eight Immortals Indulged in Wine
- The Eight Immortals of Communist China
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