Preparatory sketch in ink and colour pigment depicting two female figures. The older female on the left represents the goddess Xiwangmu, the Queen Mother of the West. Daoism had a group of ‘immortals,’ beings who had achieved supernatural powers through mastery of secret skills. Among these was Xiwangmu, known as Seiōbō in Japanese, who lived in the western paradise of the Kunlun Mountains, where peach trees grew bearing fruit that bestowed immortality. Xiwangmu was a popular theme to display on a woman’s birthday.
See 56.50.74(DUP) for a monochrome version of the same composition.