Xi Wang Mu’s Banquet
Old Man of the South Pole
Suseong noin or the Old Man of the South Pole (Namgeuk noin or Namgeuk seonong) is a folk deity symbolizing longevity. He is oftentimes depicted as an old man of short stature who is slightly stooped, with a bald head and a long beard. A high, protruding forehead is also a recognizable feature of this deity. The eyebrows and beard are painted white, and the posture is bent to indicate his great old age.
Lao Tzu, although a historical figure, has been integrated into Taoism as one of its deities. He enjoys the most elevated status in the Taoist pantheon as ‘Taesang nogun’ (Taishang laojun in Chinese, literally meaning ‘Grand Supreme Elderly Lord’). In paintings, Lao Tzu is always depicted riding an ox. In this painting, Lao Tzu is one of the very few deities shown traveling to the banquet site on a ground route, rather than through the air or sea.
The Eight Immortals are the eight most popular deities in the Taoist pantheon; namely, Yi Cheol-goe (Li Tieguai), Jong Li-gwon (Zhongli Quan), Jang Gwa-ro (Zhang Guolao), Ha Seon-go (He Xiangu), Nam Chae-hwa (Lan Caihe), Yeo Dong-bin (Lu Dongbin), Han Sang-ja (Han Xiangzi) and Jo Guk-gu (Cao Guoxiu). In this painting, the Eight Immortals are shown together crossing the sea to head to the banquet site.
Xi Wang Mu
Xi Wang Mu, the Queen Mother of the West, is in magnificent attire and appears alluring. She is flanked by several women on her left and right, who appear to be immortals and have their eyes cast toward various different directions. Some are shown to be looking at the immortals on the waves, and some others gaze towards women playing musical instruments or dancing; which admirably translates the leisurely pace of a banquet.
Director | Junkwon Kim
Exhibition planning | Ji-in Yoo, Gyeongbo Sim
Project support | PR & Marketing team, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation