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The Daoist Immortal Magu

Kōboku Japanese

Not on view

This image is likely of Magu (or Mako in Japanese), a female immortal who lived as a recluse in the wilderness, searching for potent plants and fungi that promised to prolong life. Here she emerges from the woods carrying her finds: a basket of flowers and a piece of ginseng root. Magu is accompanied by a monkey who holds a peach, a symbol of immortality. Although little is known about the artist, many of Kōboku’s works were derived from images created by Zen monk-painters in eastern Japan. This work forms a pair with a scroll, now in the Cleveland Museum of Art, showing another female immortal attended by a deer.

The Daoist Immortal Magu, Kōboku (Japanese, active mid-16th century), Hanging scroll; ink on paper, Japan

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