Chinese mythology and Taoist practice the Three-Legged Toad brings tremendous
good fortune and luck. Liu Hai, a 10th century AD Minister of the State and adept
Taoist magic practitioner was the owner of a fabulous three-legged toad who was
said to be able to whisk his owner to any destination. (Ethno pharmacy has revealed
that some of these bufo-toxins found in toads are indeed quite transformative:
ranging from highly potent painkillers to hallucinogens). Lu Hai would occasionally
loose his toad down deep wells, the toad however, could always be lured back with
a string of gold coins.
of wood and burnished with thick gold and cinnabar-red chromatics, this 19th century
Chinese wood-carving is a magnificent piece. The toad is prodigious with distinctive
humps that make for a wonderful texture. Liu Hai is depicted with the features
of a joyous Taoist sage: a laughing countenance, a full round belly, a domed head
with long flowing hair in the back, a graceful stance and fluidly rendered robes.
His right hand rests on the toad's forehead calming, taming and entraining its
powers. In his left hand had is a single gold coin. The toad and the magician
together are in movement: through galaxies, cosmos and worlds, into the past or
future? Who knows exactly where they roam for it is indeed in the realm of the
imagination that this Taoist Magician chooses to ride his most magnificent steed.