Title:Pictorial Hanging Illustrating the Feast of PeachesArtist:Artist UnknownDate:late 18th centuryCreation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:The John R. Van Derlip FundAccession Number:42.8.342
This tapestry illustrates a classic scene from Taoist mythology, the birthday party given for Hsi Wang Mu, Queen Mother of the West. Legend held that certain peach trees produced a fruit that conferred immortality when eaten. The trees blossomed every three thousand years. Once, when these miraculous peaches were ripening, a party was held to honor Hsi Wang Mu's birthday. In the tapestry, the queen mother descends from the clouds on a phoenix in the upper left, while the three deities of longevity, official office, and happiness await her arrival on the central terrace. The eight Taoist immortals are shown in the lower register making their way to the festivities. A hanging such as this, full of Taoist imagery for long life, would have been used on special occasions such as birthdays.