Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lan Caihe

Lan Caihe is the least known of the Eight Immortals. Lan Caihe's age and sex are unknown. The deity could be a hermaphrodite, but in the form most well-known he is a young boy or a youth carrying a bamboo flower basket.

He/she was born during the Tang Dynasty. His/her behaviour was often out of norm and was known for its bizarreness. He wore only shorts and thin shirts in winter, and thick jackets and long pants in summer. He walked with one foot bare and the other foot with shoe.


He/she is variously portrayed as a youth, an aged man, or a girl; in modern pictures generally as a young boy. His/her distinctive emblem is a flower-basket, often carried slung on a hoe over his/her shoulder. The basket contains various flora associated with ideas of longevity.

One suggestion for Lan Caihe's ambiguity is that the outfit was based on some previous shamanic outfits or practices of cross-genderism.

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