Hanging Cash: Two Immortals Cao Guojiu and Li Tieguai

Accession Number

Hanging Cash: Two Immortals Cao Guojiu and Li Tieguai


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
20th century

Medium & Support
woodblock print on paper

21 1/4 in x 11 5/8 in (54 cm x 29.5 cm);22 1/4 in x 12 3/4 in (56.6 cm x 32.4 cm);21 1/4 in x 11 5/8 in (54 cm x 29.5 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Willard A. and Marybelle B. Hanna

Subject matter
The left figure is Cao Guojiu and the right figure is Li Tieguai. They are two out of the Eight Immortals (Ba Xian). Caoguojiu descended from a distinguished Chinese general and had a younger brother who abused his royal position and connections. He was ashamed by his brother's actions and failed to fix his brother's failures, and eventually moved to the countryside to become a hermit. While in the countryside, he learned the philosophy and practices of Daoist principles, and eventually trascended the human condition to become immortal.
Li Tieguai is often depicted as an old beggar. He is supported by a cane and carries a gourd which has medicine in it for him to provide to the ill. Li was capable of separating his spirit from his body and traveling to the celestial realm. However, when he returned, he found that his body had been cremated so he had to take the body of a beggar. 
The clouds in the background symbolize the celestial realm, since they were created between heaven and earth. 

Physical Description
A figure dressed in a green robe and purple headdress is looking at another figure to the right who is dressed in a purple robe, holding a gourd and cane. They appear to be floating in the clouds. This image seems to be on top of a red paper cutout. 

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
color print

Collection Area

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spirits (beings)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted