These remarkable screens once decorated the abbot's quarters of the Tensho_-in, a temple within the Zen monastery of Myo_shinji in Kyoto. Created around 1647 by the artist Kano Sansetsu (1589-1651), they illustrate Chinese Taoist immortals. The Chinese believed certain sages, through their moral virtue, faith and discipline, managed to transcend the bounds of the natural world and live forever. They became paragons of self-cultivation and moral behavior and were worshiped as divine saints. Japan's military rulers and high Zen priests who exalted Chinese culture admired such themes. The figures, attired in strange costumes and positioned in a Chinese garden setting, helped create an exotic, unworldly atmosphere within the elegantly appointed context of an audience hall.