The Immortal Lü Dongbin Appearing over the Yueyang Pavilion

Artist: Unidentified Artist Chinese, late 13th–early 14th century

Period: Southern Song, Yuan or early Ming dynasty

Date: late 13th–early 14th century

Culture: China

Medium: Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on silk

Dimensions: Image: 9 3/8 × 9 7/8 in. (23.8 × 25.1 cm)
Mat: 15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1917

Accession Number: 17.170.2


This fan depicts the Daoist immortal Lü Dongbin hovering above the Yüeh-yang Lou, a famous pavilion on the east shore of Lake Dongting, in Hunan Province. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the cult of Lü Dongbin flourished under the influence of the Quanzhen ("Perfect Realization") sect of Daoism. The center of the cult was the Yongle Gong (Temple of Eternal Joy) in Shanxi Province. The painting style of the figures and the architecture and landscape details of this fan relate closely to murals in Yongle Gong that date to the latter half of the Yüan period (1279–1368). Therefore, the cyclical date dingsi inscribed on the wall outside the pavilion in this picture probably corresponds to the year 1377.