Bowl with Immortals

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Kangxi Period, 1662 - 1722
9.4 cm
19.2 cm

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The outside of the bowl is decorated with twelve figures, including the eight immortals. Beneath the figures are leaf-shaped moulded petals with flowers design. Inside is Shoulao, the God of Longevity, depicted. He is standing on the clouds, with a peach in his hands. The bowl is marked with the Six character Chenghua mark (Da Ming Chenghua Nian Zhi).

The Eight Immortals are a group of legendary immortals in Chinese, and especially Taoist, mythology. They are believed to have achieved the highest honors, to become immortal, through good works, study and virtues. Each Immortal has unique virtues and attributes, and the power to bestow blessing or curse. The Eight Immortals are said to live on five islands in the Bohai Sea.

The Eight Immortals are:

  • He Xiangu (何仙姑): generally seen as the only female of the group, often depicted holding a lotus flower.
  • Lü Dongbin: (呂洞賓), a scholar and poet considered to be the leader of the Eight Immortals.
  • Cao Guojiu (曹國舅): related to a Song dynasty emperor before he became an immortal.
  • Lan Caihe: (藍采和), an immortal of ambiguous gender considered the patron of florists and gardeners.
  • Han Xiangzi (韓湘子): a flute artist.
  • Li Tieguai (李鐵拐): considered to be mentally disturbed and associated with medicine and easing the suffering of the sick and needy, identified by his iron crutch and Calabash bottle.
  • Zhongli Quan (鍾離權): associated with death and the power to create silver and gold, often depicted holding a fan.
  • Zhang Guolao (張果老): a fangshi associated with old age.           

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