Zhongli Quan or Han Zhongli, one of the Eight Immortals

Zhongli Quan or Han Zhongli, one of the Eight Immotrals

One of the Eight Immortals in Chinese folklore is Han Zhongli or Zhongli Quan. Here is a slightly different account of his birth and his life.

Han Zhongli means a man named Zhongli of the Han dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.). The name Zhongli Quan did not appear in written legends until the Five Dynasties (907 A.D. – 960 A.D.) and the Song dynasty (960 A.D. – 1279 A.D.).

Zhongli Quan is depicted as having non-Han ethnic facial and physical features. He is depicted as having a very long beard and being “8 chi” tall. A “chi” is 1/2 meter, so he would have been 4 meters or 12 feet tall. It is said that when he was a child, he was able to tell the weight of anything he held in his hand, thus his father named him Zhongli Quan, meaning a balance or a scale to measure weights, of Zhongli, which is a double character family name.

Zhongli Quan was born on the 15th day of the fourth month. According to this slightly different account of his birth, a giant appeared in front of the house the day Zhongli Quan was about to be born. The giant said in a thunderous voice: “I am of the ancient family of the Yellow God, and I have been dispatched to be reborn here.” He then entered, and a bright light flashed inside the room. Flames reached several meters high as if a big fire was burning as a baby boy was born. And according to this account, the baby did not cry for 6 days after birth. Then on the seventh day, the baby boy suddenly jumped up and shouted out that he was from the land of the purple palace of the immortals, and that his name was recorded in the capital of the jade emperor.

This account describes Zhongli Quan as the reincarnation of the giant from the family of the Yellow Emperor.

This account also says that Zhongli Quan wandered in the hills and entered the sacred Hua Mountain to meditate and seek a spiritual path. Then he met several masters who taught him alchemy and weaponry. This was during the Han dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.). It is said that he reappeared in the Tang dynasty (618 A.D. – 907 A.D.) and became the teacher of Lu Dongbin who was born in 796 A.D.