"Ancient legend speaks of twelve talismans, one for each animal of the Chinese zodiac. Each possessing a different magic."
The Twelve Talismans are a duodenary set of powerful magical artifacts, each represented by an animal of the Chinese zodiac. The Talismans were originally created by Lo Pei when he cast a chi spell to imprison Shendu in statue form, effectively ending the demon's reign whilst dividing and encasing his powers derived from the Noble Animals into the form of Twelve Talismans, with each Talisman containing a different magical power, allowing one to utilize its respective power upon holding and activating the Talisman. Shendu is known to be particularly possessive of the Talismans, as they allow him to attain a higher level of power which he deems his "complete" state.
Intending to keep Shendu from ever returning to power, Lo Pei proceeded to scatter the Talismans to the four corners of the globe, with the hunt to retrieve them centuries later serving as the primary focus of Season 1, although the Talismans themselves continue to be of aid and importance to the Chan Clan throughout the rest of the series.
It is unknown how or when Shendu obtained the twelve powers that would later be encased in the Talismans, but it was revealed in The Powers Unleashed that the original and rightful owners of those powers were the twelve Noble Animals from ancient times. When Shendu was overthrown by his subjects in Ancient China nine-hundred years before the show's time setting, Lo Pei's chi spell that turned Shendu into a statue also extracted the twelve powers from him and encased them in twelve magic Talismans. Lo Pei scattered these Talismans across the four corners of the globe to ensure that "the ultimate evil" would never again rise to power.
The Talisman Hunt
It would be nine centuries before Shendu managed to forge an alliance with the Dark Hand, enlisting their help in exchange for the Lost Treasure of Ching Xi Hung. However, Valmont's Enforcers only managed to retrieve two of the Twelve Talismans (the Sheep and the Dragon) while their nemesis, Jackie Chan, had recovered the other ten. By tricking Jackie's Yang (dark) side (affected by the Tiger Talisman's magic), Shendu reacquired the remaining Talismans and returned to power.
Near Hong Kong, within Shendu's Palace, Jackie used a magic balm dabbed on his hands to extract the Rat Talisman and turn Shendu back into a statue, which Jade then destroyed with the Dragon Talisman. Jackie had hoped for the Talismans to be buried in the Earth for all eternity when Shendu's Palace collapsed after his statue form was destroyed. However, the Talismans ended up in the possession of the Dark Hand, who tried to use them to commit robberies. Unfortunately, they were stopped by Shendu, who had returned from the Netherworld as a spirit. He enlisted their service to help him release his demonic siblings, as the Talismans were of no use to him in his spiritual form.
Later, the J-Team was able to recover the Talismans and had them locked in a vault at Section 13, from which they would make cameo appearances in later seasons as characters used them for various tasks. Normally, they would be used against the main antagonist of the season, and the J-Team would use them in the season finales of 4 and 5, against the Oni and Drago, respectively. Jade in particular is known for regularly taking various Talismans out the vault in "Talisman raids" for her own purposes.
The Noble Animals
In Season 3, both Daolon Wong and the Dark Hand managed to break into Section 13 and attempted to steal the Talismans. However, Jackie fired a powerful laser cannon at the bag of Talismans, intending to destroy them forever, as well as put an end to Daolon Wong's plan and anyone else who intended to use them for malevolent purposes. However, he learned the hard way that, although the Talismans can be destroyed physically, their magical powers cannot be destroyed. As a result, the powers were scattered to the winds they had to seek out new hosts - the noblest and most worthy modern descendant of each of the original Noble Animals. Starting the quest for talisman hunt all over again.
The Chans were able to get nine of the animals that became the new hosts for the talismans ; the Pig and the Rooster were captured by Daolon Wong. Meanwhile, Wong resurrected Shendu in order to gain the Dragon's magic, only for Shendu to betray him and slowly regain all his powers. Luckily, Uncle, Tohru and the Section 13 agents produced another extraction spell, trapping Shendu in statue form again and reforging the Talismans. The Talismans were once again kept safe at Section 13 now with Shendu's statue locked alongside them.
The Final Battle
During the battle against Drago in the final episode, Jade retrieved the Talismans from Section 13 before its destruction and supplied everyone fighting against Drago with a Talisman each (Eggbert with Rooster, Mordecai with Pig, El Toro Fuerte with Ox, Viper with Snake, Jackie with Rabbit, Paco with Sheep, and Captain Black with Dragon).
Realizing that Drago was winning, Jade instructed everyone to throw their Talismans to Shendu so he would stand a better chance in the fight against his son. Using a reversal spell, Uncle and Tohru banished Drago and all demons from the Earth, and the Talismans are never seen again.
On the front of each talisman is an animal of the Chinese zodiac, while on the back are inscriptions that describe their powers. The talismans themselves are octagonal in shape and appear to be made of carved stone.
|Jade Chan||Adorned on a shield within a Bavarian castle in Germany|
|Super Strength||El Toro Fuerte||Embedded on the mask of a professional wrestler in Mexico|
|Invisibility||Viper||Housed within a temple situated along the Amazon River in Brazil|
|Super Speed||Tohru||Embedded on the shell of a tortoise in the Galápagos Islands|
|Astral Projection||Jade Chan||Sealed within a crate onboard a train bound for Istanbul, Turkey|
|Combustion||Valmont||Nestled along a lava cave beneath a volcano in Hawaii|
|Animation||Gnomekop||Adorned on a lamp at an auction house in San Francisco, California|
|Tohru||Housed within a monastery in the mountains of the Himalayas|
|Shapeshifting||Jade Chan||Nestled within a set of sunken ruins beneath the ocean of Micronesia|
|Uncle||Buried within the wall of a windmill in the Netherlands|
|Heat Vision||Hak Foo||Adorned on an automaton at the top of a Bavarian clocktower in Germany|
|Spiritual Balance||Jackie Chan||Concealed within a pie at a county fair in Texas|
Shendu could create an artifact that could locate the Talismans, as he did from his own petrified body in The Power Within. The item was a handle with four, dragon-like heads - the eyes would glow red from the dragon pointing towards the nearest Talisman whenever used. He created one for the Dark Hand which was destroyed in The Dog and Piggy Show, and Shendu himself also possessed one in the alternate timeline in Demon World (Part 2).
Aside from this, there were specific spells used to detect the Talisman and their powers if within a host.
Jade once absorbed all twelve Talisman powers at once when the Section 13 vault's security system - an electrified floor - came into contact with the Talismans which caused their powers to leave their respective talisman and merge with Jade, creating "T-Girl". In this instance, she could activate each power using a different finger and body part.
- Left thumb = Rooster
- Left index finger = Ox
- Left middle finger = Snake
- Left ring finger = Rabbit
- Left pinky = Sheep
- Right pinky = Monkey
- Right ring finger = Tiger
- Right middle finger = Dog
- Right index finger = Horse
- Right thumb = Rat
- Eyes = Pig
- Mouth = Dragon
- A regular occurrence in the series is to have a light quickly shines over the Talisman, especially when its power is activated.
- Although the Dog Talisman prevents death or major injury, it does not prevent one from feeling pain, which is something the Horse Talisman does. This was shown by Finn in The Stronger Evil, when he flew into a bridge overpass, saying, "Immortality hurts". Ironically, he had previously said having both healing and immortality would be redundant, and swapped the Horse for a different Talisman shortly before.
- Although the Pig Talisman isn't as strong in its offensive uses as the Dragon Talisman, it can also grant the user thermal imaging in order to counter the effects of the Snake Talisman.
- Jade once commented that the Dog, Ox, Rabbit, Rooster, Snake and Dragon are "the good ones", in that they are the most useful of the twelve.
- Finn considered the Rat, Sheep, and Tiger Talisman the three most useless Talismans due to their non-combative applications. Jackie likewise considered the Sheep Talisman particularly useless in Day of the Dragon.
- The Talismans are often activated by pressing them in one's hand, but the effect can be maintained as long as they are kept on the user's person (for example; worn as necklace, inside a pocket or even contained within the user's body after consumption). When Jade had the Rooster Talisman inside her body after eating it, she could use its power by leaning her stomach forward.
- Dai Gui seemed to dislike the Talismans and Shendu's possession of them, remarking in Demon World (Part 2) after the Rabbit Talisman gave Tohru an advantage against Dai Gui; "Shendu and his accursed Talismans!"
- A common recurring theme with the people using the Talismans is making puns based on their animal or power.
- Only seven of the Twelve Talismans show complete animals on their fronts, while the other five show only a head or half of the animal depicted. The animals depicted as incomplete on the Talismans are the Tiger, Horse, Ox, Dragon and Pig. The animals depicted as whole on the Talismans are the Rooster, Snake, Sheep, Monkey, Rabbit, Rat and Dog.
- The Tiger Talisman is the only one to show more than one animal, though it may "technically" be one, as it represents its ability to balance or split the yin and yang halves of a single user.
- The Ox Talisman is the only one to show the animal looking directly forward, though the Pig is looking mostly forward as well.
- Those looking to the left (from the perspective of someone looking at the Talisman head-on) are the Snake, Dragon, Horse, and Pig. The Tiger is arguably also looking left if its two images are rotated to each be upright.
- Those looking to the right are the Rooster, Rabbit, Sheep, Rat, Monkey, and Dog.
- Jackie Chan has used all but one of the Twelve Talismans at least once, with the notable exception being the Rooster.
|Rooster • Ox • Snake • Rabbit • Sheep • Dragon • Rat • Horse • Monkey • Dog • Pig • Tiger|
|Talisman Locators • Lost Treasure of Ching Xi Hung • Pan'ku Box (Tibet) • Scroll of Hung Chao • Armor of the Eight Immortals • Book of Ages • Golden Dragon (Hong Kong) • Urn of Wei Cheing • Cube of Tang Shan • Orb of Kwan Lo • Deja Vu Stone • Dragon's Teeth • Chi-O-Matic • Chi Arcanum|
|Oni Masks • Hana Fuda Cards • Demon Archive|
|The Kyoto Octopus|
|Sutras of Raktajiba (India) • Armbands of Shiva (India) • Burmese Raccoon (Myanmar) • Opal (Bhutan) • Golden Squid (East Asia)|
|Eye of Aurora (Egypt) • Cat of Khartoum (Sudan) • Silver Iguana of Awramba (Ethiopia)|
|Bavarian Shield (Germany) • Druid Stone (Britain) • Emerald of Killarney (Ireland) • Green Beard's Gloves (Britain)|
|Chalice of Life (Patagonia)|
|Pink Puma • Time-Traveling Crystal Ball|