One of the most enduring Chinese literary characters, the Monkey King has a varied background and colorful cultural history. His inspiration came from the White Monkey legends from the Chinese Chu kingdom (700–223 BC), which revered gibbons and especially white ones. These legends gave rise to stories and art motifs during the Han dynasty, eventually contributing to the creation of the Monkey King figure. The Monkey King was initially developed in the book as a Taoist immortal or deity before being incorporated into Buddhist legends. His religious status is often denied by Buddhist monks both Chinese and non-Chinese alike, but is very welcomed by the general public, spreading its name across the globe and establishing itself as a cultural icon. He is also considered by some scholars to be influenced by elements of both Chinese urban myths and the Hindu deity Hanuman from the Ramayana.