The Three Stars (Fu, Lu, and Shou) 

"Another group of immortals known to all lovers of Chinese art consists of figures representing the three desires of ordinary people - Fu (wealth), Lu (rank) and Shou (longevity). Lu is dressed in a winged hat and belted robe of a high official and carries a jade sceptre indicating ministerial rank. Fu . . . bears a kind of cornucopia, but wears a simpler gown as befits a merchant. Shou . . . is identifiable by several symbols of longevity - an extraordinarily high, bald cranium, a staff of peachwood, a peach, a crane, and a spotted deer nuzzling up beside him. Millions of people long for the blessings they personify, but two of these blessings indicate how far away in spirit is the folk religion from genuine Taoism, wealth and rank being two curses of humanity that followers of the Way seek to avoid! Nevertheless, paintings of the venerable Shou, Fairy of Long Life, are often very charming and he, at least, represents a thoroughly Taoist ideal, the more so if one takes 'long life' to be a synonym for immortality, as it often is."
–John Blofeld, in Taoism: The Road to Immortality.

For a related view, refer to Ni Hua Ching's statements on Fu Luh Soh.


Image at left from Stephen Little (ed.), Taoism and the Arts of China.


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Copyright 2003 by Joseph F. Morales