Fu, Lu, Shou – Luck To Go!
Sanxing (三星) translates into ‘Three Stars”, who are Fu, Lu, and Shou. There is probably no Chinese household in which the three Taoist gods of good luck, are not revered. And they enjoy growing popularity all over the world.
The term Sanxing is commonly used in Chinese culture to denote the three attributes of a good life, whereby Luxing, Fuxing and Shouxing are the powerful representatives of good fortune, prosperity and longevity. Traditionally, they are arranged right to left (so Shou is on the left of the viewer, Lu in the middle, and Fu on the far right), just as Chinese characters are traditionally written from right to left.
福星 – Fuxing
Fuxing (also Fu) is the God of Good Fortune and Happiness. Xing means star and Fuxing is related with the planet Jupiter. In Taoist legends the Fu star is associated with Yang Cheng, a legendary judge from the 6th century. Yang Cheng risked his life by writing a petition to the Emperor, in order to alleviate the suffering of the population. After his death the people gratefully built a temple to his honor.
Usually, Fuxing is represented in student clothing. In his hand he holds a scroll with the formula that can bring the benignity of fate. Sometimes he is shown surrounded by a bunch of happy children and accompanied by bats, the most common good luck symbol in China!
祿星 – Luxing
Luxing (also Lu) is the Taoist God of Prosperity, wealth, reputation and abundance. Xing means star and Luxing is equated with ζ Ursae Majoris, a star in the constellation of the great bear. The word Lù refers to the salary of an official, federal employee. Therefore Luxing is usually presented in the clothes of a Mandarin. As such, he stands not only for wealth but also for power, glory and honor.
Luxing is often depicted as the largest of the three gods, standing in the middle. In his hand he holds the Ru Yi, the scepter of power and authority; sometimes he holds in his other hand in addition a Chinese, boat-shaped gold ingot, the so-called Sycee.
壽星 – Shouxing
Shouxing (also Shou) is the god of health and long life. Xing means star and Shouxing is associated with Canopus, the southern pole star; apart from Sirius this is the second brightest star on the night sky.
He’s got a very characteristic feature: the extra high, domed forehead. According to the legend, he came into the world already as an old man, after an incredible ten year pregnancy – yet, he is immortal! Apart from his age Shouxing is also recognizable on his friendly smile. Usually he carries a peach (Symbol of immortality) in one hand and on the other a dragon wand, with a tied up gourd in which he keeps the elixir of life.