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The Administration

This painting depicts the assembly of Taoist gods and Celestial Worthies (The Three Pure Ones). Given the limitations imposed by the size of the painting, the artist was obliged to select only the most significant characters, and to merge the others into a more or less anonymous procession of gods, patriarchs and horsemen.

Top row: The Three Pure Ones, with the Jade Emperor on their left, and the Master of the Saints on their right. The inscriptions below them reads, “ rich abundance of the five grains ” and “ the incense gate prosperity“.

Second row: The Bodhissatva Kuan Yin (center). A Buddhist deity adopted by Taoists.

Third Row: T’ai Sui the powerful god of the year (center), with six arms and three heads, he holds the sun to his left and the moon to his right.

Fourth row: The Three Dragon Phoenix Ladies in a moon window..

Fifth row: Tai Wai the High Constable (center), flanked by mounted officials and cavalry.

Sixth row: Hoi Fan riding a serpent (center).

Seventh row: Possibly Marshal Hsin ‘the Dark Warrior’ (center), judge who investigates the good and bad deeds of mankind, and who makes the entries in the (Celestial) book of accounts.

Bottom: the God of the Soil in his shrine (extreme left). The five orderlies ‘who bring injuries and wounds’ come to him for orders. They are mounted (from left to right) on a buffalo, elephant, lion, unicorn and a tiger.