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Eight Immortals

The Eight Immortals[?] (八仙 in pinyin: ba1 xian1; 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 (法器) that can give life or destroy evil. Together, these eight tools are called "Covert Eight Immortals" (暗八仙 an4 ~). 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[?] (蓬萊山島 peng2 lai2 shan1 dao3).

The Immortals are:

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

In Literature

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

  • The Yueyang Mansion (《岳陽樓》 yue4 yang1 lou1) by Ma Zhiyuan (馬致遠 ma3 zhi4 yuan3),
  • The Bamboo-leaved Boat (《竹葉船》 zhu2 yie4 chuan2) by Fan Zi'an (范子安 fan4 zi3 an1), and
  • The Willow in the South of the City (《城南柳》 chen2 nan2 liu3) by Gu Zijing (谷子敬 gu3 zi3 jing4).
  • The most significant of the writings is The Eight Immortals Depart and Travel to the East (《八仙出處東游記》 ba1 xian1 chu1 chu4 dong1 you2 zi4) by Wu Yuantai (吳元泰 wu2 yuan2 tai4) in Ming Dynasty.
  • There is another work in Ming, by an anonymous writer, called The Eight Immortals Cross the Sea (《八仙過海》 ba1 xian1 guo4 hai3). It is about the Immortals on their way to attend the Conference of the Magical Peach (蟠桃會 pan2 tao2 hui4) and encountered an ocean. Instead of go 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 ~, ge4 xian3 shen2 tong1) signifies the the wonders a group of people can achieve, if they cooperate and try their best.


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). (For photos, see external link below). In Mu-cha (木柵 mu4 zha4), Taipei County, Taiwan, there is a temple called South Palace (南宮), nicknamed Eight Immortal Temple (八仙廟 ~ miao4).

There are other less famous sets of Eight Immortals:

Located in central Taiwan, Pa-hsien Mountain (八仙山 ba1 xian1 shan1), or Eight Immortals Mountain, is a branch of Jade Mountain[?]. Its height is 2448 metres, which is around 8000 Taiwanese metres (台尺). The pronunciation of eight thousand and eight immortals are similar in Chinese, hence the name.

One of the three major logging stations[?] in Taiwan used to be in the forest. There is an amusement park located on the part of the mountain that is located in Ho-p'ing Township (和平鄉 he2 ping2 xiang1), Taichung County[?]. It is estimated that there are 59 native birds and 5 migratory birds[?].

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