Lan Caihe

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Zhang Lu's painting of Lan Caihe (depicted here as a man sitting on a turtle), early 16th century
A woodcut print of Lan Caihe

Lan Caihe (Chinese: 藍采和; pinyin: Lán Cǎihé; Wade–Giles: Lan Ts'ai-ho) is a Chinese mythological figure and one of the Eight Immortals in the Taoist pantheon.

Properties[edit]

Lan Caihe is variously stated to have been a woman and a hermaphrodite. She is the strolling singer or mountebank of the Immortals. Usually she plays a flute or a pair of cymbals. According to popular belief, however, only one of the Eight Immortals, He Xiangu, was a woman, Lan Caihe being represented as a young person of about sixteen, bearing a basket of fruit. One writer states that though Lan Caihe was a man he could not understand how to be a man which may be why he has been supposed to be a woman.[1] It's said that in a drunken stupor Lan Caihe left the human world by riding on a celestial swan or crane into Heaven. One legend says that Lan Caihe became an Immortal by being transferred 500 years of magical powers by Sun Wukong.

Modern depictions[edit]

In the television show Jackie Chan Adventures, Lan Caihe was shown to be the Immortal who sealed away Dai Gui, The Earth Demon, and was portrayed as a man.

See also[edit]

Media related to Lan Caihe at Wikimedia Commons

References[edit]

  • 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.