to the Eighteen Lohans in Buddhism, in Daoist tradition there are the Eight Immortals.
Here in this extraordinary carving, the legendary being Li Tieh Kuai is represented
as a beggar leaning on an iron crutch, carrying a rolled-up straw mat under a
large lotus leaf, and holding a magic bat in hand. The figure is intricately carved
through in round, and sinuously dynamic in movements. His face is realistic modeled
with a robust appearance, double-inlaid glass eyes gazing downward, lips parted
in a smile showing his tongue and inlaid teeth; ultra fine details that give the
small carving a delicately wistful presence, with spirited expression, superb
pose and fluid movements.
legend tells us that Li Tieh Kuai was the disciple of Laozi. On one occasion,
his spirit traveled to heaven to meet with other immortals, as he left his body
in the care of his apprentice for seven days; after six and a half days the boy
has to visit his dying mother, so he cremated the body of Li Tieh Kuai. On his
return, the soul of Li found no body to inhabit, but he spied the fresh corpse
of a lame beggar, and so entered and animated the beggar's body, in which the
Daoist philosopher continued his practice with the gift of a medicine gourd from
Laozi, and finally attained the perfection to immortality.