Art Finder Text Detail  
Item Actions
Ratings (0)
Title

Chen-Wu, The Taoist Deity of the North: Gallery Label - Current

Author

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Date

2003-10-22

Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
The origins of the deity Chen-wu (perfected warrior) go back to the Warring States (3rd century b.c.) and Han dynasty (206 b.c.-220 a.d.) periods. At that time, he was known as Hsuan-wu (the dark warrior), and was simply represented by a tortoise entwined by a snake. Hsuan-wu was the ancient symbol of the north and often appeared with three other animals: the dragon, red bird, and tiger, to symbolize the four directions. The transformation of Hsuan-wu from a snake-entwined tortoise to the Taoist deity Chen-wu, represented as a robust human-form warrior, occurred around 1000 a.d. The period of Chen-wu's greatest popularity was the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

This mold made image was produced in the Tz'u-chou kilns of north China, and it would have been used on an altar table for personal devotion. Chen-wu is shown here wearing formal court attire in a dignified seated posture befitting his status as a celestial emperor of the dark heavens. The dark warrior tortoise appears at his feet and the sleeves of his robe are decorated with images of the big dipper.

Details
Comments (0)
Tags (0)
 
Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 10, 2009