2 figures, one very small carrying a basket, in lower left corner standing on a bridge; 2 buildings near top; tall trees in middle ground and mountains in background; inscription and 2 seals in upper left corner

Gathering Herbs, 1612

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Attended by a servant carrying a basket of herbs, a scholar pauses on a bridge beneath a pine tree and gazes upward toward his destination, a monastery visible in the mists of a distant valley. Gathering herbs was a favorite scholarly pastime, as it provided an excuse to interact with nature, which in itself could be a meditative process. More significantly it was a practice pursued by both Daoists and Buddhists, reflecting the idea of sacred mountains as places where potent alchemy could be practiced and meditative refuge achieved. The mountains also offered the opportunity to encounter immortal beings and therefore a path to transcendence.

Details
Title
Gathering Herbs
Artist Life
active early 17th century
Role
Artist
Accession Number
99.67.6
Curator Approved

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2 figures, one very small carrying a basket, in lower left corner standing on a bridge; 2 buildings near top; tall trees in middle ground and mountains in background; inscription and 2 seals in upper left corner