Eight Daoist Immortals, Cranes, and Gibbons

Kano Tanshin (Morimasa) Japanese

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 231

The central scroll of this monumental triptych shows the Eight Daoist Immortals, flanked by images of cranes and monkeys. Most of the immortals are easily identifiable. In the foreground are two who are often paired in Japan: Li Tieguai, who creates a miniature image of himself by blowing into the air, and Liu Haichan, with his mythical toad. Behind them is the sole female member of the Eight, He Xiangu, with a peach, a symbol of fertility, longevity, and purity. In the background Lu Dongbin paints an image of his dragon adversary in the air, while Zhang Guolao releases a miniature mule from a bag. The old gentleman flying down through the sky on a crane may be Zhongli Quan, considered the leader of the group.

Eight Daoist Immortals, Cranes, and Gibbons, Kano Tanshin (Morimasa) (Japanese, 1653–1718), Triptych of hanging scrolls; ink and color on silk, Japan

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