Artwork of the Week: February 16
Ching Yai Li, Hsi Wang Mu (Imperial Mother of the West), Chang Dynasty, ink on paper, 62 x38 inches. Gift of LeRoy M. Pharis, in memory of his wife Pearl Jones Pharis.
The Imperial Mother of the West was known in ancient Chinese culture to be the only deity capable of producing the elixir of immortality. She is shown here with a deer—a symbol of longevity, due to their fabled long lifespans, as well as one of two animals capable of finding the mushrooms of immortality in the wild. In the drawing, the maternal goddess Hsi Wang Mu is shown returning from a successful foraging, several of these mushrooms hanging from her belt.