Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for QUEEN MOTHER OF THE WEST

Hsi Wang-mu or Xi Wangmu is a Chinese goddess of death, immortality, and the Western Paradise.  She is described in the HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion as having a leopard tail, tiger teeth, a spool-like headdress, sitting on K'un-lun mountain by a sacred tree preparing the elixir of immortality and being accompanied  by the jade hare, the three-legged bird, the toad, the nine-tailed fox, and in some accounts, an armed guard.  She hosts feasts at which seekers are served the peaches of immortality. 

I'm having trouble finding images that fit that description, but check out the following for some other ideas.  Check out this site for not only other illustrations, but the most information I found about her online.  I do not have enough expertise in Chinese religion to judge that online article by Max Dashu, but it is fascinating and packed with details and suggested interpretations of the evidence regarding this goddess.  Yumiyu's illustration is here.  Izabeth's is here.  A more modern looking illustration that looks like it may go with a video game is here.

A number of goddesses have caught my attention during this year's challenge. This one seems to combine a number of elements of Chinese religion, including the alchemical and perhaps the shamanic.

The association between the West and Paradise persists in forms of Pure Land, whose Western Paradise is overseen by Amitabha, or the Buddha of Infinite Light (known in Japan as Amida Butsu).






1 comment:

  1. i never heard of her, but I do love learning about myths and legends and ancient gods and goddesses--so thanks!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com
    Happy A-Zing!

    ReplyDelete