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Sennin, Daoist immortals, relax, Gamma with his three legged toad looking shocked upon his shoulder, Tekkai sending his spirit forth, the essential equipment of the Daoist life scattered about them. The painting is dated 1912 and signed Kodo. The artist has chosen a very humorous stance from which to depict his subjects. The silk image is mounted on a panel of applied gold flake and framed in striped Ebony,. The frame is 142 x 48 cm (58 x 19 inches). There are some minor abrasions to the surrounding gold paper. As the traditional Japanese home was made with earthen walls, which could not support weight, hengaku frames of this manner were made to be suspended from the edge of the ceiling, and supported over the transom (Kamui) which ran the entire way around a traditional Japanese room at door height.
According to the MIA, The Daoist immortals, Gama Sennin (Chin. Liu Hai) and Tekkai Sennin (Chin. Li Tieguai) “were often paired in Japanese and Chinese art because of their corresponding supernatural powers. Depicted on the right is Gama Sennin, known literally as the ‘toad hermit,’ a character based on the historical civil servant and alchemist Liu Hai of 10th century China. Various accounts associate Gama with a large, three-legged toad by which he can be identified. Gama was thought to be able to release his spirit from his body, metamorphose, and fly with the aid of his magical companion. Tekkai Sennin is the Japanese adaptation of one of the Eight Immortals (Baxian), an assemblage of Daoist and/or folk deities. He was thought to be capable of leaving his body, sometimes traveling for extended periods. On one occasion, he asked a disciple to watch over his body and instructed him to burn it if his spirit did not return in seven days. On the sixth day, however, the disciple’s mother died, so he burned his master’s body and went home. Returning on the seventh day, Tekkai’s spirit found his body gone, leaving him no choice but to adopt the corpse of an emaciated beggar that he found beside the road. Like Gama Sennin, he is associated with medicine, and is traditionally represented with a gourd that signifies his ability to transcend the body and to offer healing.”
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