Lan Caihe (Chinese: 藍采和; pinyin: Lán Cǎihé; Wade–Giles: Lan Ts'ai-ho) is the least defined of the Eight Immortals in Chinese mythology. Lan Caihe's age and sex are unknown. Lan is usually depicted in sexually ambiguous clothing, but is often shown as a young boy or girl carrying a bamboo flower basket.
Stories of Lan's behaviour are often bizarrely eccentric. Some sources dress Lan Caihe in a ragged blue gown, and refer to them as the immortal patron of minstrels. In another tradition, Lan is a female singer whose song lyrics accurately predict future events.
Lan is often described as carrying a pair of bamboo castanets which they would clap and make a beat with by hitting the ground, they would then sing to this beat and a group of onlookers would follow and watch in amazement and entertain themselves. After these performances they would give them lots of money as they asked for it, Lan Cai. They would then string this cash and coins on a long string of money that they carried. As they walked the coins would fall off. They would not care, other beggars would then take the money.
They are often described as wearing only one shoe and other foot being bare, in the Winter it was said they slept naked in the snow and it melted and in the summer it was said they stuffed their clothes full and wore thick clothes despite the heat.
Like all the other immortals they were often said to be in a drunken stupor and left this world by flying on a heavenly swan or crane into heaven. One day while in a tavern, they had supposedly gotten up to go to the bathroom. But before leaving they flew off on the crane or swan and stripped off their clothes on the way up.
Media related to Lan Caihe (藍采和) at Wikimedia Commons
- Eberhard, Wolfram (1986). A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. ISBN 0-415-00228-1.
- Yetts, W. Perceval (1916). "The Eight Immortals". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland).
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