The illustrative compositions of this panel are
three successive stages. In the
lower stage, an oarsman steers a docking sailboat
containing two passengers
dressed in scholarly attire engaged in conversation.
The spatial and temporal distance is
collapsed, imbuing this pictorial
scene with the quality of transcendence. The
boat quickly arrives at the dock that is represented
by stairs leading to the
arched entrance of a walled community. Inside the community, which is
depicted in the middle stage,
ornate pagoda-like structures and gardens rise above
the walls that are being
protected by guards--one is captured in the position
of drawing a bow and arrow.
The face of a bearded man wearing a scholar
cap can be seen through the
window of a tiered structure. The
upper stage of the panel appears to represent the
heavenly realm of immortality.
An energetic man riding a horse swings his
arms high in the air grasping
the reins of the horse in one hand and an emblem in
He is accompanied by an attendant to the
rear holding an umbrella and
another walking ahead carrying an offering.
The panel is decorated with curled patterned
Throughout Chinese history, stone panels were
to commemorate the passing of rites or events, often
commissioned by wealthy
families and patrons. Many of these
panels blended mythological Taoist ideas, Buddhist
beliefs, and Confucian
morality with events of actual life. They
provide rich historical data regarding the practice and
belief system of any
given period in China.