The Talismans of Shendu are named for the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. They each hold an aspect of Shendu's power.
Long ago, Shendu's subjects rose up against him, led by Lo Pei, Using an extraction spell, he trapped Shendu in statue form, separating his powers from him in the form of twelve Talismans. Lo Pei scattered them across the globe to make sure Shendu would never again rise to power.
It would be nine centuries before Shendu made a deal with the Dark Hand in exchange for treasure. However, they only got him two talismans the Sheep and Dragon while their nemesis, Jackie Chan, had ten. By tricking Jackie's Yang side (affected by the Tiger Talisman's magic), Shendu gained the other talismans and returned to power.
Near Hong Kong, at Shendu's palace, Jackie used a potion dabbed on his hands to extract the Rat Talisman and turn Shendu back into a statue, which Jade destroyed with the Dragon Talisman. However, the talismans ended up in the possession of the Dark Hand, who tried to using them for crime until Shendu came back as a spirit. He enlisted their service, as the talismans were of no use to him in his form. The J-Team was able to recover the Talismans and had them locked in Section 13, from which they would make cameo appearances in all of the later seasons as characters (usually Jade) 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.
After Shendu's spirit was sent back to the Demon Netherworld, the Dark Hand sought to steal the talismans, only for them to be destroyed by a laser cannon in a three-way fight between The Enforcers, Daolon Wong and the Chans. The powers of the Talismans then spread across the world to find the original animals of the zodiac to house their powers as their orignial owner Shendu was dead. As those animals were long since dead, the magic targeted "noblest" animal of the same species. The Chans were able to get nine of the power animals; the Pig and the Rooster were captured by Daolon Wong, and there was no dragon left on Earth. They tried to place the talisman powers within replicas Tohru carved, but the replicas would not hold the energy. Meanwhile, Wong resurrected Shendu 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.
During the battle against Drago in the final episode, Jade had everyone 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.
Before Tohru landed on and destroyed it, Shendu at one time had an artifact that could locate the Talismans. The item was a handle with four dragon-like heads. The eyes would glow in from the dragon pointing towards the nearest Talisman when used.
On the front of each talisman is an animal of the Chinese zodiac, while on the back are inscriptions that describe their powers.
First seen in The Dark Hand. Gives the user the power of Levitation and Telekinesis. Found embedded in a shield in an unnamed Bavarian castle. This was the first Talisman found. With it, a person can fly, but it is only with the Rabbit that they are able to achieve supersonic flight speeds.
- First used by Jade (when she accidentally swallowed it in her soup) to stop from falling off the Golden Gate Bridge and return to solid ground on the bridge.
First seen in "The Mask of El Toro Fuerte". Gives the user the power of Super Strength and Durability. Found in an ancient Mexican temple by El Toro Fuerte. Later found by Jackie on the mask of El Toro Fuerte. The Ox is most commonly used by Jackie when he needs to fight larger enemies. The Talisman gave Jade huge muscle mass in "The Amazing T-Troop", but it has not been known to do that with any other people who used it.
- First used by El Toro Fuerte as his symbol on his mask.
First seen in "Enter the Viper". Gives the user the power of Invisibility. Found in a secret passage in a cave, near the Amazon River. Jackie obtained it and put it in his pocket for safekeeping until he could got to Section 13, but an archeologist named Rank who was at the same cave (as he was filming for an episode of a show called Just the Artifacts) took it from Jackie's pocket while he wasn't looking. Rank sold it to a local pawn shop, but his camera man Deino Stephenson recovered it and donated it to the New York Museum. Later, it was stolen by Viper from the said museum, and Jackie recovered it from her. Is most commonly used by Viper.
- Was first used by Viper.
First seen in "Shell Game". Gives the user the power of super speed. Was found stuck in the shell of a tortoise in the Pacific. When used with the Rooster, it can produce supersonic flight. Can also be used to increase speed of objects like a space shuttle (as shown in "Shanghai Moon"). The Rabbit is most commonly used by Jade and Tohru.
- Was first used by Tohru.
First seen in "Project A, for Astral". Gives the user the power of Astral Projection, or the ability to eject the soul from the body and wander as a spirit. In this form, one is invisible, inaudible, and able to fly, pass through walls, and enter a person's dreams (where one can be seen and heard). Shendu was also able to possess Jade when both of their astral forms had left their bodies. It was first found in a crate on a train. Despite all of its uses, it is next to useless in a fight, as both Jackie Chan and Finn have stated at some point.
- First used by Jade. The Sheep is the least commonly used Talisman.
- It's also shown one can use the talisman to eject the souls of other people other than the holder as Daolon Wong demonstrates.
First seen in "Bullies". Gives the user the Power of Combustion and pyrokinesis, allows holder to shoot beams of explosive flaming energy to be discharged from the talisman. It was found in a volcanic cave, and Valmont fused it to his hand. However, soon afterward, Shendu's Shadowkhan returned the talisman to Shendu.
- Was first used by Valmont.
- Made several cameo appearances in season 5.
First seen in "Tough Break". Gives the user the power of Animation; "motion to the motionless". Gives inanimate objects life. When Shendu was under the spell of Lo Pei, this talisman was required to maintain his form if the Talismans were used to free him from statue form. Found in an ancient Chinese lantern. The Rat is most commonly used by Jade to bring her "Super Moose" doll to life.
- Was accidentally first used by Jade to bring her action figure to life.
- Was never used to bring a dead person back to life, not counting the statue of Lo Pei.
- It gives the animated items the personalities, powers, and even memories that were intended by the creators of the inanimate object.
First seen in "The Rock". Gives the user the power of Healing. Its magic is that, "if activated, the Noble Horse expels all alien forces within," curing the user of foreign bodies (i.e. germs, viruses, etc). It can also heal physical injuries, repair broken objects and instantly relieve physical pain and disorientation (such as sea sickness) It was so effective that it even healed a hole the size of a cow in Shendu's chest in a few seconds. Found in an unknown mountain lodge.
- First used by Tohru accidentally to cure his cold.
- Can work on any inanimate object (such as statues and boats), as well as living things.
- It can be used to cure magical afflictions that affect your health, such as Jackies potion caused petrification. However it cannot cure magical afflictions that do not affect health, it could not undo the age reversion Daolon Wong used on Valmont.
First seen in "The Dog and Piggy Show". Gives the user the power of Immortality; "The Dog Talisman is best friend to Man, it restores youthful energy and grants Eternal Life." It can negate the "effects" of aging, while making them invulnerable. The demonstrated power of the talisman is contradictory as Jackie used the talisman to survive a fire blast from Shendu unscathed (a similar thing happened when Daolon Wong blasted Scruffy and the latter was unharmed due to this talisman) whilst Finn collided with a bridge while also flying using the rooster talisman, then groaned weakly, "Immortality hurts!" and Jackie was able to blast a giant hole into Shendu with the Dragon Talisman even though Shendu still had this Talisman in him. It could be possible that the Dog Talisman's power only prevents the user from being harmed by attacks that could outright kill them and that it also reduces the amount of damage they take from attacks that aren't fatal. The talisman's power lasts only as long as the user is in contact/wearing the talisman. Found in a wall of a windmill in Bavaria.
- Was first used by Uncle to battle Tohru and Hak Foo.
First seen in "The Dog and Piggy Show" Gives the user the power of Laser/"Heat-Beam Eye Blasts"/Optic Blasts. The user is given the power to shoot powerful beams of energy from their eyes. It can also be used to see everything as heat (heat vision). It can be seen as a reverse to the snake talisman due to the fact that it can detect someone who is invisible. Found on a Bavarian clock tower mechanical pig with cymbals.
- It was first seen to be used by Hak Foo. Its previous owner, a chocolate maker named Ferkel, used it for melting cocoa beans to make his chocolate.
First seen in "The Jade Monkey" Gives the user the power of Shapeshifting. Any item/person/animal may be changed into the shape of any animal by saying the name of the intended animal's shape. It is unknown if it can do extinct animals, e.g. a T-Rex. The talisman then projects a beam or vapor that transforms whatever it hits. (Saying/thinking a variant of "change back" undoes the spell.) Found in Micronesia, underwater. The Monkey is most commonly used by Tohru to turn enemies into kittens (which Uncle once scolded him about, since Uncle was allergic to kittens).
- Was first used by Jade to accidentally turn Jackie into a yak while trying to figure out its power and saying "This ride is going to make me yak" after getting seasick.
- It should be noted that the first time the Monkey talisman was used on an inanimate object, it turned into a living animal. (Jade called for a hollow log to become "a death ray," but it turned into a manta ray instead.) It’s possible that the talisman can turn nonliving objects into living animals but only if it’s in close contact with the object. In all other instances where the Monkey Talisman was used on an inanimate object, the beam turned the said inanimate objects (e.g. a boulder or bush) into sculpture-like shapes.
First seen in "The Tiger and the Pussycat" (where it was strangely discovered in a pie), it gives the user the power of Balance. When halved, it also splits the user's positive and negative halves (Yin and Yang) into two separate beings, each holding a half of the talisman. Can also be used to find the "other half" of a broken object. The two beings rejoin when they reunite the broken talisman. As said by Shendu, the Tiger is meant to balance the other 11 Talismans. This tells that it wasn't supposed to be broken, meaning that the action of splitting someone in two was never its true ability, but merely a consequence of it being broken in half. Jackie realized the crack and thought of the time when the elder bit on the talisman thus cracking it. On the other hand, the Noble Tiger had the same ability, and the new Talisman made by Tohru had the same crack, so it is possible that the crack on the talisman was intentional, and the separation ability is its real ability.
- First used accidently by Jackie.
- The Talisman has only ever been used on Jackie, Spring-Heel Jack, and Captain Black.
- Those split do not neccesarily become pure good or pure evil. Jackie's Yin self was still able to commit acts of violence by fighting, and his Yang side has saved peoples lives, even agreeing to reunite with his brother. The Yin probably represented the mind, while the Yang represented the body.
The Talisman Powers
In season 3, both Daolon Wong and the Dark Hand managed to break into Section 13 and attempted to steal the Talismans. But 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. However, he learned the hard way that although the Talismans can be destroyed, their magical powers are invulnerable. As a result, the powers were scattered to the winds and headed out to possess the noble descendants of the original Zodiac animals; as their original containers were destroyed, they had to seek a substitute. So, instead of ending the Talisman quest for good, Jackie started it all over again (much to his chagrin).
- It was noted in the series that if a user were to hold both the Horse talisman and the Dog Talisman, they wouldn't need the healing granted by the Horse Talisman (such as repairs for something unbreakable). This, however, was proven incorrect, because while 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 show by Finn in The Stronger Evil, when he flew into a bridge overpass, saying 'Immortally hurts'. Ironically, he said having both healing and immortality would be redundant.
- 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 dragon, dog, rabbit, rooster, snake and ox are "the good ones", in that they are the most useful of the twelve.
- Finn considered that the rat, sheep, and tiger talisman are the 3 most useless talismans
- It is said that the Snake Talisman is Viper's favorite, as her name is a type of snake and due to her skills in stealth.
- Thanks to DeviantArt-ist Parallel1980 you can now make your own out of cardpaper scissors and glue: The Rabbit and Dragon, the Rat and Horse, the Snake and Sheep, the Dog and Pig, the Ox and Rooster, and the Monkey and Tiger which unfortunately doesn't come apart but it's something the fans have been waiting for a long time (their own talismans)
- A common reoccurring them with the people using the talismans, is making puns based on their animal or power.