A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z




Peach of Immortality

In China, the peach (fig.) is a symbol of longevity. Xi Wangmu (fig.), Queen Mother of the West and mother of the Jade Emperor, has a magical tree that bears peaches of immortality. Whoever eats from them will attain everlasting life. Being the guardian of this peach tree, she one day called all the gods together to let them feast on a banquet of its auspicious peaches, so they gained immortality. This extraordinary tree produces peaches only once every three thousand years and its fruit is an attribute of several deities, including the Eight Immortals (fig.) and Shou, one of the Three Star Gods, who is sometimes depicted sitting in a large peach (fig.). Also every other part of the tree is believed to posses some special powers and its wood, for example, is used to ward off evil spirits. For that reason, many Taoist spiritual tools, such as charms, amulets and seals are today still made of peach wood. Legend has it that Sun Wukong, the Monkey King stole some peaches (fig.) from the garden of Xi Wangmu and subsequently attained immortality. Kunming Lake in Beijing's Summer Palace was dug in the shape of a peach and the excavated earth was used to create the adjacent Longevity Hill (fig.). In Chinese, the Peach of Immortality is known as Xian Tao (fig.).