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A brilliant youth, Tang Yin achieved first place in the provincial examinations that he hoped would open a career for him as an official, but scandal ruined his chances. He instead became a professional painter who received commissions from his scholar friends. This handscroll was requested by Tang's contemporary Wang Dongyuan, who followed Daoist practices meant to encourage longevity. After a prophetic dream in which Wang Dongyuan saw an immortal approaching him, Wang named his garden "Dreaming of an Immortal." It was common in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) for a garden proprietor to take the name of his garden, or a site within it, as a sobriquet, or secondary name. Thus, the painting is a "double image" that refers to Wang Dongyuan as a sleeping figure and, by extension, through the garden property itself. Tang Yin creatively captured the meaning of the garden's name by portraying Wang asleep with the dreamy emanation of an immortal floating in the sky.
- Published References
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- Collection Area(s)
- Chinese Art
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
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