Boxwood (huang yang mu) carving of ‘Han Xiangzi’ (韓湘子) who is one of the ‘Eight Immortals’. He was born ‘Han Xiang’ during the Tang period and is said to be the nephew or grandnephew of ‘Han Yu’, a prominent statesman of the Tang Court. Han Xiang studied Taoism. Once at a banquet organized by Han Yu, Han Xiang tried to persuade Han Yu to give up a life of officialdom and to study magic with him. Han Yu however urged Han Xiang that he should dedicate his life to Confucianism instead of Taoism, so Han Xiang demonstrated the power of the Tao by pouring out cup after cup of wine without end from his gourd. Han Xiangzi who later on became the patron saint of the flutists is always depicted with his flute which is believed to give life. The Eight Immortals (八仙) are a group of legendary saints in Chinese mythology. Their power can bestow life or destroy evil. This small carving entered our collection in 1968. It was discovered in a small oriental shop in the Eastern part of the Netherlands together with four other Immortals. In total there should have been eight Immortals but three had already been sold. The carving of these figures is of an exceptional quality. They were made around the early 1960’s or late 1950’s. Four of the stands are later replacements. Size without stand: Height 10 cm. Width 4.5 cm. Depth 3.5 cm.