The bajixiang are found made in a variety of material, in gilt-bronze, gold, silver, porcelain, champleve enamel and cloisonne enamel, sometimes in combination. They were placed on the altars at the various shrines within the Forbidden City; see for example, complete sets photographed in situ, illustrated in Cultural Relics of Tibetan Buddhism Collected in the Qing Palace, Hong Kong, 1992, pl. 99-1 in the Hall of Buddhism, and pls. 103 and 108-1 in the Pavilion of Raining Flowers.
The Eight Buddhist Emblems are: the Wheel of Law (falun), representing the inexorable expansion of the Buddha'a teaching; the Conch Shell (luo), symbolic of majesty, felicitous journey and the voice of the Buddha; the Umbrella (san), symbolic of spiritual authority, reverence, purity; the Canopy (gai), royal grace; the Lotus (hua), representing purity, truthfulness in adversity; the Vase (ping), symbolising eternal harmony and the receptacle of lustral water, the nectar of immortality; the Paired Fish (shuangyu), conjugal happiness, fertility, protection, spiritual liberation; and the Endless Knot (zhang), symbolic of eternity.