Carving of Lu Tung-Pin, One of the Eight Immortals
Item No. 16009
18th - 19th Century, Taoist / Popular Religions, China
Lacquer over Wood and Polychrome
32" x 11" x 8"
( 81.28 x 27.94 x 20.32 cm)
(H x W x D)
This figure is probably Lu Tung Pin (also called Lu Dongbin), the most celebrated of the Eight Immortals, also known as Baxian or Pa Hsien. The Eight Immortals were superior Taoist human spirits who achieved immortality by alchemy, asceticism, study or by being canonized by a superior deity. As deities, they dwell in mountains and hills remote from human habitation.
Lu Tung Pin is generally seen with a two-edged sword on his back, which he uses to seer greed, lust and sorrow from people’s lives. In his hand he grasps a hair-switch whisk, which he uses to ride the clouds. The image on his chest is in the design of a cloud, probably referring to his ability to travel between the earthly world and the nether world. Statues of Lu Tung Pin are found in most Taoist temples in towns and villages and many grottoes are dedicated to him on the sacred mountains of China. He is associated with medicine and with the elixir of life and has power over evil spirits and through charms.
This figure, along with image number 16010 (Kuo-chiu), was part of a set which probably included all Eight Immortals. Each of these two statues is in excellent shape with their lacquer coatings totally in tact. Each is masterfully modeled; especially the facial features which are highlighted with pigmentation at the eyebrows, eyes and mouths; the hands and the folds of the draped robes.
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