An impressive Chinese root carving of an immortal figure. Very well carved, the teeth are made from bone and the eyes porcelain. Dating from around 1900, there are a couple of splits that you can see in the photos, the worst one being on the statues right arm. The subject of the carving is Lei Tie Guai, the iron crutch. Because of his great skill at magic, Li Tie Guai, was able to free his soul from his body and aid and meet others in the celestial realm. Li Tie Guai, a good looking man used his skill frequently. Once, while his spirit was gone from his body, a disciple decided that Li Tie Guai was dead and burned his body as was traditional. When Li Tie Guai’s soul returned from its travels, he was forced to enter the body of a beggar. He is represented as a lame beggar carrying a double gourd. The gourd, symbolising longevity and the ability to ward off evil, has a cloud emanating from it. The cloud represents the soul, depicted as a formless shape. The gourd represents also helping the needy and relieve the distressed. Sometimes Li Tie Guai is pictured riding the qilin. Li Tie Guai is the emblem of the sick. // The Eight Immortals (Chinese: 八仙; pinyin: Bāxiān; Wade–Giles: Pa¹-hsien¹) are a group of legendary xian ("immortals") in Chinese mythology. Each immortal's power can be transferred to a vessel (法器) that can bestow life or destroy evil. Together, these eight vessels are called the "Covert Eight Immortals" (暗八仙). Most of them are said to have been born in the Tang or Song Dynasty. They are revered by the Taoists and are also a popular element in secular Chinese culture. They are said to live on a group of five islands in the Bohai Sea, which includes Mount Penglai.