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The Eight Immortals ( Chinese : 八仙 ; pinyin : Bāxiān ; Wade–Giles : Pa¹-hsien¹ ) are a group of legendary xian ("immortals") in Chinese mythology . Each immortal's power can be transferred to a power tool (法器) that can bestow life or destroy evil. Together, these eight tools are called the "Covert Eight Immortals" (暗八仙). Most of them are said to have been born in the Tang or Song dynasty . They are revered by the Taoists and are also a popular element in the secular Chinese culture . They are said to live on a group of five islands in the Bohai Sea , which includes Penglai Mountain-Island .

In literature before the 1970s, they were sometimes translated as the Eight Genies . First described in the Yuan Dynasty , they were probably named after the Eight Immortal Scholars of the Han .

The 8 Immortals are considered to be signs of prosperity and longevity, so they are popular themes in ancient and medieval art. They were frequent adornments on celadon vases. They were also common in sculptures owned by the nobility. Their most common appearance, however, was in paintings. [ citation needed ] Many silk paintings, wall murals, and wood block prints remain of the Eight Immortals. They were often depicted either together in one group, or alone to give more homage to that specific immortal.


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