A set of famille verte biscuit figures of the Eight Immortals


Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, 1662-1722, China


Height (the largest): 30cm;11.8 inches


The present group depicts the eight Daoist Immortals, or baxian, each with their attributes- Li Tieguai with a gourd and an iron crutch, Zhongli Quan with a fan, Zhang Guolao with a fish drum, Lü Dong Bin with a flywhisk and a sword, Lan Caihe with castanets, He Xiangu with a lotus stem, Han Xiangzi with a flute and Cao Guojiu with a flywhisk. Each is standing on rectangular pierced bases with diaper pattern, wearing robes with floral ornaments and Taoist auspicious symbols.

The eight immortals appeared as a discrete group in the Jin dynasty (1115-1234) and became increasingly popular from the Ming dynasty into the Qing, appearing as subjects in the decorative arts both for the Chinese market as well as for the export market to the West. More frequently made in the famille rose palette, the present set is unusual being in famille verte and finely modelled.

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