Set of four sliding door panels with decoration of Chinese Immortals

Liu Haichan [right of the set Daoist Immortals], 1646

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These sliding door panels (fusuma) show a group of Chinese Daoist immortals. The Chinese believed the immortals were historical and legendary personages who, through moral virtue, faith, and discipline, managed to transcend the bounds of the natural world and live forever. They were worshiped as saints. Old Chinese themes like this were admired in Japan by military rulers and Zen priests, who exalted Chinese culture and its heroes.

This set of panels formed part of a much larger suite of paintings made for a temple in Kyoto. In the 1640s, Kano Sansetsu and his studio created hundreds of panel paintings for this temple. A devastating fire in the 1800s destroyed all but eight—the four panels you see here and four paintings that decorated their reverse, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Liu Haichan [right of the set Daoist Immortals]
Artist Life
1589 - 1651
Accession Number
Tenshō-in, Myōshinji, Kyoto; Mathias Komor (until 1963)
Catalogue Raisonne
Masterpieces from the Japanese painting collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art ミネアポリス美術館 日本絵画の名品 Cat.10
Curator Approved

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Set of four sliding door panels with decoration of Chinese Immortals