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A Research on the Mythical World around the Queen Mother of the West

Researcher
QIAO Meng
Duration
-

This research deals with the pictorial program of the spiritual companions of the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu) in funerary art. The spiritual companions in the form of mythical animals and immortals are the subject of this research. Special attention will be given to the invention and schematization of such motifs, as well as the problem of patronage and spectatorship in funeral art

By combining written records and archaeological data, my research deals with the pictorial program related to the spiritual companions, including both the mythical animals and immortals of the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu) in funerary art. The purpose of my research is not only to investigate what this pictorial program consists of, but also to explore why artists created these accompanied motifs, how these motifs were organized into a scheme, who patronized this pictorial program and who viewed it.

Previous research on the Queen Mother of the West enrich our understanding of this goddess and form the foundation of my research. However, seldom of them have explained the meaning of this goddess’s companions such as the dancing toad, the dragon-and-tiger throne, winged immortals playing the liubo game etc. Through analyzing these iconographies, we can get a glimpse of their role in strengthening the efficiency and power of the Queen Mother.

Moreover, multiple styles of this pictorial program developed in different regions will be analyzed. These variations reflect different local beliefs, different social stratum of patrons and different ethnic groups, but their ultimate goals are the same: achieving the immortality and communicating with the mythical world around the Queen Mother of the West.