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hassen@”ªå
KEY WORD :@art history / paintings
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Ch: baxian. Lit. eight immortals. The eight figures considered to be the experts in and protectors of Taoism. The impetus for creating a group of eight legendary Taoists was probably an attempt to compete with the popular sixteen arhats *juuroku rakan \˜Z—…Š¿ of Buddhism and is also related to Du Fu's (Jp: To Ho “m•á, 712-70) famous poem "Eight Immortals of the Winecup" (Ch:Yinzhong baxiange, see *Inchuu hassen ˆù’†”ªå). Accounts and depictions vary, but generally the semi-legendary figures are: *Shou Riken ß—£Œ  (Ch: Zhong Liquan), who was master of *Ryo Douhin ˜C“´•o (Ch: Lu Dongbin), and is usually shown wearing a large cloak and waving a plumed fan; Chou Karou ’£‰Ê˜V (Ch: Zhang Guolao); Kan Shoshi ŠØÃŽq (Ch: Han Xiangzi), nephew of the great 9c poet Han Yu ŠØ–ú whom he impressed with feats of magic such as making a peony burst; Tekkai (see *Gama Tekkai ‰Ú寓S‰û); Sou Kokkyuu ‘‚‘än (Ch: Cao Guojiu), brother of an 11c Song empress, who, to escape the persecution of an elder brother, fled into the mountains where he was taught by Ryo Douhin and is usually depicted in the costume of a government official holding a tablet of state; Ryo Douhin, Ran Saika —•Ñ˜a (Ch: Lan Caihe), originally a Nanjing “ì‹ž actress named Xujian she was converted to Taoism by Shou Riken and is represented begging or singing in the marketplace holding large wooden-clappers or a flute and dressed in a tattered green gown; and, Ka Senko ‰½åŒÆ (Ch: He Xiangu), a female ascetic taught by Ryo Douhin who gave her the peaches of immortality, which were the source of the immortality of those residing in Taoist heaven, she is often depicted wearing elegant clothing and holding a long lotus flower. The hassen theme was more popular with both Chinese and Japanese artists than with ordinary Taoist believers, although Japanese painters frequently confused the identities of the lesser-known immortals. There are notable Japanese paintings by Kaihou Yuushou ŠC–k—F¼ (1533-1615) and Kanou Sansetsu Žë–ìŽRá (1589/90-1651). Paintings of the hassen were popular with 17c and early 18c *Kanouha Žë–ì”h painters.
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