Immortal Holding a Peach

Period: Ming dynasty (1368–1644)

Date: 16th century

Culture: China

Medium: Silk tapestry (kesi)

Dimensions: Overall: 46 x 24 in. (116.8 x 61 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Tapestries

Credit Line: Gift of Ellis G. Seymour, 1926

Accession Number: 26.114.4


The figure on this silk tapestry panel is Dongfang Shuo who symbolizes wisdom and longevity. As a historical person, Dongfang (154–93 B.C.) was famed for his immense erudition and humorous speeches. In later legend, as seen here, he steals the magical peaches from the orchard of the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu) and becomes a famous immortal. The layout and powerful outlines, also present in sixteenth-century painting, help date this tapestry. Found on both sides of the panel, the red seals state that it had once been stored in the imperial study of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736–95), one of the greatest art collectors in Chinese history.