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Eight Daoist Emblems

The attributes of the eight Immortals symbolize Daoism, transmutation and happiness. Each of the symbols is the attribute of one of the Eight Immortals - legendary figures said to have obtained immortality through the elixir of life produced by alchemy or by eating magic fruits. Although some of the Eight Immortals form part of the Daoist's legend, it is unlikely that as a group they were honored any earlier than the Yuan Dynasty. Each represents a character or a condition and in turn an object symbolizes each Immortal.

  1. Double-gourd, which contains all magical medicines, of Li Tieguai, dispenser of medicine. His emblems are an iron crutch and a gourd. He sometimes stands on a crab or beside a deer.

  2. Peach and Fan - resurrects the dead, of Zhongli Quan represents the military man. Chief of the 8 Immortals. Has the Elixir of Life, the power of transmutation, symbol of longevity. Carries a peach and a fan to revive the souls of the dead, the Fan also being a symbol for delicacy of feeling.

  3. Flower basket or sometimes a flute of Lan Caihe, the patron of florists and a symbol of delusive pleasure. The Flute is an emblem of harmony and also of the Patron Saint of Musicians.

  4. Bamboo drum and rods of Zhang Guo represents old age and in a symbol of longevity. Rode a mule backwards.

  5. Lotus of He Ziangu, The Female Sage who gives assistance in house keeping. She is sometimes poised on a Lotus leaf, holding a fly whisk.

  6. Sword, and sometime a fly whisk, of Lu Dongbin, the Patron Saint of scholars and barbers is worshipped by the sick. He slays dragons and rids the world of evils. A fly whisk is also a symbol for the Buddhist admonition "Do not Kill", for 'magic' and 'leadership'.

  7. Flute of Han Xiangxi, the Patron Saint of Musicians has the power to make flowers grow and blossom immediately. The Flute is an emblem of harmony and also of the Patron Saint of Florists.

  8. Castanets of Cao Guojiu, the patron saint of theater actors.

See also: The Eight Daoist Immortals

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