Lan Tsai-Ho

Lan Tsai-Ho is the mountebank of the Chinese Eight Immortals. She poses as a wandering singer, denouncing this fleeting life and its delusive pleasures1. The basket of flowers she carries is full of plants associated with longevity—chrysanthemums, plum blossoms, pine, bamboo, etc. Lan Tsai-Ho is sometimes represented as a woman and sometimes as a young, male child; she may also be presented as a hermaphrodite.Lan Tsai-Ho

She is often drunk, or pretends to be, and gathers a group of followers while singing and capering through towns. When she has money, she usually throws it on the ground for poor. In the summer she wears thick clothing and a coat, and in the winter she makes her bed in the snow. Truly a foolish woman.

Lan Tsai-Ho dates from the Tang Dynasty (1766–1122 BC). She is said to have obtained immortality by bathing the boils and sores of a beggar, who is believed to have been Li-Tieguai (another of the Eight Immortals) in disguise.

It is believed that one can communicate with the gods by using Lan Tsai-Ho’s basket of flowers.2

1. The Project Gutenberg EBook of Myths and Legends of China, by E. T. C. Werner
2. – The Eight Immortals