Album of Daoist and Buddhist Themes: Search the Mountain: Leaf 41


Album of Daoist and Buddhist Themes: Search the Mountain: Leaf 41


Part of a set. See all set records

Album, ink on paper

Sheet: 34.3 x 38.5 cm (13 1/2 x 15 3/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund in honor of Dr. Ju-hsi Chou and Gift of various donors to the department of Asian Art (by exchange) 2004.1.41



The principal—and largest—figure in this leaf portrays Erlang, a celestial commander in a popular myth. Here he wears full armor and holds his sword. Seated by a pine tree, he orders his celestial army to rid Mt. Guankou of the undesirable creatures in the wilderness, including a wolf, a small alligator, and a monkey dressed in human clothes. This subject was first painted by a Northern Song artist, Gao Yi, and remained popular through the Southern Song period and during the Ming dynasty. In this album, the Soushan Tu (Search the Mountain) uses 10 leaves to complete its imagery. This is now the earliest known version of the narrative, as Gao Yi’s has not survived.

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