Vintage Chinese Immortal Dolls Circa 1940's
This is a grouping of paper dolls called the Eight Immortals and Lao-tzu, founder of Taoism. Sometimes nine dolls are represented. I have the nine doll set. They are made of a silk fabric, thinly padded with printed faces. They are attached to thin paper.
The Immortals were used as decorations for the home, not as play toys. They are legendary beings of the Taoist sect who are said to have lived at various times, and through their studies of nature's secrets attained immortality. For the Chinese they represent the eight human states of youth and age, wealth and poverty, aristocracy and plebeianism, masculinity and femininity.
Each one of the immortals is represented holding a specific item that has become his or her symbol.
I will identify as many of them as I can. Starting from left to right, the first one is Ho Hsien-Ku holding a lotus blossom (please note her face does have some discoloration). She represents beauty and fertility.
I don't know who the second and third one is.
The fourth one is Lu Tung-pin. Please note his real hair beard. Legend says that he was exposed to and overcame a series of ten temptations and was then invested with the sword of supernatural power with which he traveled, slaying dragons and ridding the earth of various forms of evil.
The fifth one is Shou Lai, the star of Longevity
The sixth one is Chung-Li Chuan. He also has a real hair beard. He is the chief of the Immortals and is said to have obtained the secrets of the elixir of life and the power of transmutation.
The seventh one I think is Ts-ao Kuo-chiu. He is said to have given up courtly life to become a hermit. He is supposed to be worshipped by scholars and is the patron of theatrical performers. Please note his face has some marks on it. Please understand I'm not positive that is who he is .
The eighth one is again unknown to me. But please note her face is also marked.
The ninth one is Lan Ts'ai-ho. She is the patron of florists. She carries a flower basket, which she always carries and from which she strews all good things.
Condition: They are on there original paper which is pretty worn. The sixth figure dressed in red is pulled off the paper. There are some dark smudges on 3 faces. Please see pictures for condition.
Please look at these closely. They are a wonderful part of history. How wonderful they would look framed and hung on a wall! They do have flaws but they are still absolutely wonderful! Because they are not perfect they are priced accordingly.
As with all of my items these come from a smoke free home.