Bronze figure of a female immortal, Magu
A bronze female figure depicted in a standing position, holding a bowl with a peach. She is dressed in layered robes and a shawl decorated with a continuous pattern of large ruyi heads, and a ribbon-like long scarf around her neck. Her head is turned slightly towards the left, with her hair neatly tied up into a bun. Her demure face is well defined with downcast eyes, arched nose and full lips. The bronze is of even, dark brown colour.
As a popular Daoist goddess of longevity, Magu (literally meaning ‘hemp lady’) is almost always depicted as a beautiful lady carrying a basket of life-granting peaches. The present example of Magu, holding up a peach with both her hands, matches the motif called ‘Magu offering longevity (Magu xianshou)’ . A comparable wood figure of Magu, closely similar in size, hair style and the floating ribbon scarf, dated to the Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911), is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing. Another Qing dynasty representation of Magu, made of jade and similarly holding a peach, is in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei.
- Tse Bartholomew, T., Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 2006, 7.27, p. 191
- Liu, J. ed. Chinese Bamboo, Wood, Ivory, Rhinoceros Horn Illustration Catalogue.Vol. Three.Wood Carvings (Part 2), Wenwu chubanshe, Beijing, 2009, no. 72, p.69
- National Palace Museum, Taipei, online collection archive no 故玉 534