image preview

Date of Work

Early 20th Century


Carved Ivory

Identification #

92-034, 92-034a-g




1 1/4"


1 7/8"


Chester Fritz Library, East Asian Room


Stored: S01 (Box 1)


UND Art Collections Repository

Additional Information

Eight small carved ivory figurines on black bases of the Eight Taoist Immortals.

From Information Sheet:

"The PA-HSIEN, or the Eight Immortals, were followers of the Taoist Religion and attained their position by abstraction from the world. These eight, including two females, rose higher than any others. These legendary beings are said to have lived at various times and represent different conditions in life: poverty, wealth, aristocracy, plebianism, age, youth, masculinity, and femininity. They are supposed to have gained immortality through the studying of nature's secrets."

(From Left to Right:)

"Chung-Li Ch'uan

The chief of the Eight Immortals is represented as a fat man, sometimes fully clothed, but more often with a bare stomach. His emblem is a fan with which he revives the spirits of the dead.

Li T'ieh-Kuai

He used to visit celestial regions and leave his body in care of a disciple. One time he was absent too long, his disciple thought he was dead and burned his body. When he returned, he had to take refuge in the body of a lame beggar who had just died.

Chang Kuo-Lao

An immortal who has the power of invisibility is always seen with a bamboo-tube drum which announced his arrival. He always rode a white mule, and when not needed, the mule was folded up and placed in his wallet.

Han Hsiang-Tzu

The patron saint of musician [sic] is depicted with a bouquet of flowers or a flute of immortality. He has the power of making flowers grow and blossom instantly.

Lu Tung-Pin

The patron saint of the barbers is also the friend and helper of the sick. He overcame temptation ten times along the way to immortality. His emblem is the sword which he used to rid the earth of evil monsters.

Lan Ts'ai-Ho

This immortal is generally regarded as a woman. One foot is always bare. She is regarded as the patron saint of the florists and carries a basket of flowers.

Ts'ao Kuo-Chiu

The patron saint of the theatrical profession was of distinguished ancestry. For this reason he is always represented wearing a court headdress and official robes. He carries a pair of castanets in one hand.

Ho Hsien-Ku

A young lady, after eating a supernatural peach, gained immortality. She could foretell everything. Her emblem is a lotus which she carried [sic]."


Very Good

Condition Notes

Bases shedding black dust, slight discoloration


Images are provided for educational purposes only and may not be reproduced for commercial use. Images may be protected by artist copyright. A credit line is required to be used for any public non-commercial educational purpose. The credit line must include, “Image courtesy of the University of North Dakota.”