Queen Mother of the West

Ren Xiong

Qing dynasty (1644-1911), About 1840

Inscription: Painted by Xiaoshan’s Wei Chang Ren Xiong at Wumen

One of the earliest written references to the Queen Mother comes from the writings of the Taoist writer Zhuangzi (c. 4th century BC): “The Queen Mother of the West obtained it (the Dao) and took up her seat in the Kunlun Mountains (in western China). No one knows her beginning; no one knows her end.”

She is thought to be the goddess of death, yet she also bestows immortality.