Ba Xian (Pa Hsien) is the group of eight immortals of the Taoist tradition. Ba means "eight", one of the Chinese lucky numbers; and Xian means "immortal". They were actually ordinary mortals who can die. Because of their good livings and good works, they were later rewarded everlasting life by the Queen Mother Wang (Wang Mu Niangniang).
The names of the eight Chinese gods varied during the Han, Tang, Song Yung and Ming Dynasties. The most popular ones are from Ming Dynasty. They are:
The fame of the eight immortals mostly comes from the Chinese idiom "Ba Xian Guo Hai", which literally means "the Eight Immortals Across the Sea" and often means "everybody uses their own way to reach a purpose".
It is said that one day, the eight came at a sea and they crossed it with their own means other than a boat. The tools they used were a hardwood plank, banana-tree-leaf fan, crutch, flute, sword, bottle gourd, horsetail whisk and a flower basket. Because they are the means for the eight to execute their powers, they were called "the eight treasures". And the story makes the eight fairy tale/legend figures a household name as a group.
Because they were once normal mortals like everybody also, people found it easy to relate to them or like them. It is also said that each of them represents the following respectively: male, female, the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the common people and the nobles.
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