The Daoist Immortal Liezi

Kano School

Not on view

These panels depict Daoist immortal Liezi (Japanese: Resshi), who flies away on a cloud, while awestruck figures discuss his mysterious disappearance. These door panels, or fusuma, originally decorated the west wall in the central room of the abbot’s quarters (hōjō) at Ryōanji, a Zen temple in Kyoto. They are part of a set of forty panels depicting assorted Confucian and Daoist figures that were installed in the three rooms.

Evidence suggests that this work was created by painters of the Kano studio under the direction of a son of Kano Eitoku (1543–1590). One candidate is Kano Kotonobu, Eitoku’s third son, who served as a painter for Ryōanji’s chief patrons, the Hosokawa family, after his father’s death. The screens were dispersed and sold to private collectors in the early twentieth century. While some panels from the central room remain in Japan, panels from the adjoining room have been acquired by the Seattle Art Museum and other collections.

#8818. The Daoist Immortal Resshi

The Daoist Immortal Liezi, Kano School, Set of four sliding-door panels; ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper , Japan

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.