Welcome to week 24! This week I’ll be focusing on figures starting with ‘X’. These are the Xian, Xuan Zang, and Xi-he.
According to Chinese mythology, the Xian “are beings who have gained immortality … [they] are not deities, but have been granted the gift of eternal life” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). These immortals can be celestial or terrestrial (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). Those who are celestial live in “Tian, the Daoist heaven, or th eisles of the immortals situated in the Eastern Sea, or in the Kunlun Mountains” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). The immortals are able to change their appearance, “and are often represented riding on the backs of cranes” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). “The terrestrial immortals live in forests and mountains” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486).
Xuan Zang was “a celebrated Buddhist monk of the seventh century AD” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). “Some of his bones are still revered in temples in China and Japan” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486).
See also Cotterell & Storm (2007:486) for details on the Xi You Ji by Wu Zheng-en.
Also known as Hsi Ho, Xi-he, according to Chinese mythology “is the mother of the ten suns and the wife of Taiyun Djun, the god of the eastern sky” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:483).
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Cotterell, A. & R. Storm. (2007). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hermes House.