Dragon pine

Wu Boli Chinese

Not on view

Wu Boli, a Daoist priest at the Shangqing ("Upper Purity") Temple on Dragon Tiger Mountain, Jiangxi Province, was a close folower of Fang Congyi (ca. 1301–ca. 1392). Dragon Pine was painted for Zhang Yuchu, the forty-third Daoist "pope" of the Orthodox Unity sect, and bears his appreciative colophon.

This animated pine recalls an account by the tenth-century hermit-painter Jing Hao that describes "a gigantic pine tree, its aged bark overgrown with lichen, its winged scales seeming to ride in the air. Its stature is like that of a coiling dragon trying to reach the Milky Way." For Jing Hao, as for later artists, the pine signified "the moral character of the virtuous man." Here, the tree may also represent the Daoist sage, or "perfected being." According to Daoist geomantic beliefs, vital energies collect at the base of a mountain slope along the edge of a stream-precisely the location of the pine in Wu Boli's painting.

#7603. Dragon Pine

Dragon pine, Wu Boli (Chinese, active late 14th–early 15th century), Hanging scroll; ink on paper, China

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.