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Standing Portrait of Emperor T'ai-tsung Lao-tzu Riding a Blue Ox Great Master, Kuan-yin
Lohan Pu-tai Great Master, SamantabhadraPeach Assembly of Immortals

Lao-tzu Riding a Blue Ox
Anonymous, Sung Dynasty (960-1279)
Hanging scroll, silk tapestry, 108 x 51.7 cm


   Tapestry, also known as k'o-ssu ("cut silk") in Chinese, is a refined and artistic form of traditional craftwork in China.

   In this hanging scroll is Lao-tzu, originally named Li Erh and style named Tan. He was from the state of Ch'u in the Spring and Autumn period during the 6th century BC. In Taoism, he is considered an incarnation of the "Senior Lord of the Supreme". It is said that when Lao-tzu went through Han Valley Pass, the official Pass Commissioner Yin Hsi felt the presence of a purple mist suddenly appearing in the air. He surmised that a great sage was passing through the area. Not long thereafter appeared Lao-tzu riding on his blue ox emanating from the east. Yin Hsi implored Lao-tzu to write down a book for later generations. Lao-tzu consented and left behind at Han Valley Pass the famous Tao-te-ching in 5,000 characters. After finishing it, he got on his ox and rode off to the west, never to be heard from again.

   In Journey to the West, the Senior Lord used the Eight Trigrams Furnace to sear the Monkey King for 49 days and ordered celestial attendants to be at his side to add wood to the fire. It was hoped to refine an elixir, but it unexpectedly assisted the Monkey King in refining his own insight instead. Flaming Fire Mountain is this furnace that fell to and formed in the mortal world after the Monkey King knocked it over. In chapter 52, Blue Ox stole the Senior Lord's treasured ring to the mortal world and caused havoc there. The heavenly generals were helpless, but finally, with a hint from the Tathagata Buddha, they asked the Senior Lord to come and subdue it.
Lao-tzu Riding a Blue Ox
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