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A Chinese Biographical Dictionary/Chang Kuo


83Chang Kuo 張果. 7th and 8th cent A.D. One of the Eight Immortals of the Taoists. Hearing of his fame while he was living as a recluse among the mountains, the Empress Wu Hou sent to invite him to Court; but when her messenger arrived he was already dead. Ere long he was once more seen alive, and in 723 the Emperor Ming Huang dispatched another messenger to fetch him. This second messenger, instead of accomplishing his mission, fell into a swoon, from which he recovered only after a long interval. A third messenger, bearing an autograph letter from the Emperor, fared better, and returned with Chang Kuo to the capital. He entertained the Emperor with a variety of magical tricks, such as rendering himself invisible, and drinking off a cup of aconite. He refused the hand of an Imperial princess, and also declined to have his portrait placed in the Hall of Worthies. He was allowed to return to his seclusion, with an honorary appointment in the Imperial Banqueting Court and with the title of 通元先生, in allusion to his supernatural powers.