Mako 麻姑
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Ch: Magu. Two female Taoist immortals. The first is said to have lived in the Han dynasty and was sister of the immortal Wang Fangping (Jp: Ou Houhei 王方平). The second, included in RESSENDEN 列仙伝 (The Series of Biographies of Immortals; Ch: Liexianzhuan), was daughter of the Jin dynasty tyrant Ma Qiu (Jp: Ma Shuu 麻秋), and is depicted far more frequently in painting. Ma Qiu reportedly worked his subjects night and day in order to build a castle, letting them rest only upon hearing the cock's crow at dawn. His daughter, joining the side of the workers, skillfully imitated the cock's crow at an earlier hour thereby gaining extra rest for the people. Fearing her father's wrath, she fled and adopted Taoist practices. Sometime later, legends say, Mako ascended to heaven while standing on a stone bridge north of her father's castle. This is the scene pictorialized most often. The immortal is recognizable by her long fingernails said to resemble a bird's talons. A well-known Japanese example is a hanging scroll by Ike Taiga 池大雅 (1723-76).


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