The Eight Immortals in the Legend are eight
immortals that are best known among the people including seven men and one lady.
They are Han Zhongli (Zhong Liquan), Zhang Guolao, Han Xiangzi, Tie Guaili, Cao
Guojiu, Lu Dongbin, Lan Caihe and He Xiangu. The story about The Eight Immortals
appeared long ago. There were Drawing of the Eight Immortals and Story
of the Eight Immortals in the Tang Dynasty, but the names of the characters
were not decided yet. It was until in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), after Wu
Yuantai's novel Journey to the East, the eight characters were finally
It says that the Eight Immortals separately
represent male, female, the old, the young, the rich, the noble, the poor, and
the humble Chinese. The talismans that they use, which are called Hidden Eight
Immortals, all have the certain meanings. Zhang Guolao's drum can augur life. Lu
Dongbin's sword can subdue the evil. Han Xingzi's flute can cause growth. He
Xiangu's Water Lily can cultivate people through meditation. Tie Guaili's gourd
can help the needy and relieve the distressed. Zhong Liquan's fan can bring the
dead back to life. Cao Guojiu's jade board can purify the environment. Lan
Caihe's basket of flowers can communicate with gods.
The Eight Immortals are the gods who punish
evildoers and encourage people to do good, help those in distress and aid those
in peril. There are a lot of folk tales about them. The most famous ones are
The Eight Immortals Celebrate the Birthday and The Eight Immortals
Crossing the Sea. The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea tells that a
god invites the Eight Immortals to take part in a party and appreciate peonies.
On the way back, the Dragon King of the East Sea stops them and
both sides begin a furious dispute. At last, the Eight Immortals and their
friends take out their talismans and win. Then they get across the sea. The
legend of the Eight Immortals is one of the most moving Chinese ancient stories.
It now has become the idioms and literary quotation commonly used by people.
Especially among ordinary people, it has great influence, and some customs even
spread to the inshore areas of Japan.