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Cookig lingzhi fungus in the Songshan mountains
21331 I
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History of the Object
Lij Huan-cheng was an artist, who worked in the genre of “flowers and birds” and sometimes turned to landscape painting, including figures of travellers, scholars feasting their eyes on the scenery. etc, in his works. The scroll depicts a scene of cooking lingzhi fungus (or the divine plant zhiduan—cao), which according to a Taoist legend was believed to be proper for preparing the immortality elixir. Besides following the basics of ancient Chinese traditions, Confucianism, and Buddhism, Chinese literati, scholars, writers, and artists also resorted to religious and philosophical principles of Taoism and its mystical practices not infrequently. Lingzhi of Chinese mythology is a magical plant of blue, red, yellow, white or purple colour, looking like fungus and growing on caudices of old dried up trees. Lingzhi brings immortality to the one, who would drink elixir prepared from it. This variegated fungus was considered an attribute of a perfect and wise ruler. The Chronicles preserve evidence that the quests for this miraculous fungus were initiated at least as early as the reign of the Emperor Qin Shi-huangdi (3rd century BC.) Lingzhi like peach became in China a widespread symbol of longevity. The image of its cap stylized to peculiar design with curls at the sides was used as lucky decor in arts and crafts. In particular. the topping of so called ruyi sceptre conveying the wish of fulfilment of desire was associated with this fungus, and in other works of applied art the images 01' coloured auspicious clouds, Spindrift of the world ocean, etс., served this purpose. The real antetype of lingzhi is found in Agaric ramifie or Ganoderma lucidum fungi possessing hallucinogenic properties.

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Type
Calligraphy 
Materials
Ink and colours on silk 
Measurements
166,5х44 cm 
Creator name
Luhuan-cheng 
Creator date
1630 - after 1705 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
 
Function
 
Acquisition
 
Copyright
The State Museum of Oriental Art (Moscow) 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
 
Museum
The State Museum of Oriental Art 
Credit line
 

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