Height: 1163.000 mm
Width: 451.000 mm
Gift of James Martin White
Asia JA JP ADD332 (1950.11-11.012)
Mori Tetsuzan, Xiwangmu, a hanging scroll painting
Edo period, AD 1804
Xiwangmu (Japanese: Seiōbō), the Queen Mother of the West, was a Chinese immortal. She was supposed to live in a paradise within the Kunlun Mountains, in an enchanted palace with beautiful pagodas and a magical garden. Among her plants she cultivated trees which every 3000 years flowered and bore peaches of immortality. She is depicted here holding one of these precious fruit, and wearing a phoenix ornament in her hair.
Artists of the Maruyama school often chose Xiwangmu, or other Chinese beauties, for their paintings. In this work by Tetsuzan, she is elegant and attractive, with plump and charming features. Tetsuzan (1775-1841) was the nephew and pupil of Mori Sosen (1747-1821), who had been one of the ten best pupils of Maruyama ōkyo (1733-95). Tetsuzan specialized in bijinga (pictures of beautiful women). He studied the methods of both the Maruyama and Mori schools; this work is an example of the former. The bright colours and soft folds of the robes, as well as Xiwangmu's poise and gentle expression, are characteristic of Tetsuzan's work.
The signature reads 'Kinoe ne haru motome ni ōjite sha; Tetsuzan' (Painted by Tetsuzan at special request, spring, 1804), and the seals read 'Shushin no in' ('Seal of Shushin') and 'Shishin'.
I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)