(Chinese, active early 1500s)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Image: 135 x 57.5 cm (53 1/8 x 22 5/8 in.); Overall: 233 x 71.6 cm (91 3/4 x 28 3/16 in.); with knobs: 233 x 77.5 cm (91 3/4 x 30 1/2 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1976.13
Escaping to a Better World: Eccentrics and Immortals in Chinese Art (Chinese art rotation)
Zhongli Quan wears a girdle of leaves, a common Daoist immortal-recluse attribute.
Here, Zhongli Quan is crossing the ocean. He is one of the Eight Immortals (baxian), a group of popular Daoist figures who understood the way of life and could transform into otherworldly beings. Zhongli Quan is usually depicted as a scholar with a big belly seen through his partially open robe. The artist used expressive brushwork to depict the immortal’s fluttering robe and the roaring waves, skillfully creating a sense of movement.
This scroll may have been one of a set depicting the Eight Immortals. Although the painting has no signature or seal, its style supports an attribution to the Ming dynasty painter Zhao Qi.
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