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Boxwood with colored ivory base
Overall: 13.5 cm (5 5/16 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 1976.60
Her basket contains plants and herbs used by Daoists for attempting to achieve immortality.
He Xiangu is one of the Eight Immortals in the Daoist pantheon. She was thought to have been a real person who lived in the Tang dynasty, originally named He Qiong. As a teenager, she was instructed in a dream to eat powdered mica to become immune from death and to vow to remain unmarried. She did so and became an enlightened practitioner of Daoism.
In this delicate carving, He Xiangu is placidly seated in a gnarled and knotty wooden raft amid green-tinted ivory waves. In front of her rests a bamboo basket filled with objects associated with Daoist immortality, while she holds a branch of lingzhi fungus.
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