The Immortal Li Tieguai

Qi Baishi Chinese

Not on view

Qi Baishi delighted in painting the Daoist immortal Li Tieguai, whose unkempt appearance made a ready match for Qi’s quick brushwork and casual control of saturation. This depiction of Li shows him squatting by a brazier, an unusual posture that Qi seems amused by in his inscription:

I wrote a poem about Li Tieguai [Iron-crutch Li]. It goes:

If I throw away my gourd and crutch,
Who will recognize me as an immortal?

In this painting I added a cinnabar stove. Li looks more like a hungry ghost.
Painted and inscribed by Baishi.

--Translation after Keita Itoh and Lawrence Wu

The Immortal Li Tieguai, Qi Baishi (Chinese, 1864–1957), Framed hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, China

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