Great antique scroll, circa 1900s, depicting Zhang Daoling riding a tiger; measures approximately 69" x 35"; in used condition with creases and water damage to top.
Zhang Daoling (ca. 34-156 C.E.), also commonly called Zhang Ling, was a Daoist hermit who lived during the Eastern Han dynasty. Contrary to the antinomian/ apolitical bent of many such renunciants, Zhang had a certain organizational genius, which was manifested in his founding of the theocratic and millennial Zhengyi Mengwei Tianshi Dao ("Tradition of the Celestial Master of the Mighty Commonwealth of Orthodox Oneness") sect (also known as the "Tianshi Dao" ("Way of the Celestial Masters") or the "Wudou Mi Dao" ("Five Pecks of Rice Movement"))—one of the earliest and most influential schools of institutional Daoism. While few of the specifics of Zhang Daoling's life are definitively known, he remains a frequent player in Daoist and popular Chinese folklore, with tales describing both his earthly encounters with the divinized Laozi and his posthumous adventures as an immortal.
Provenance: Comes from personal collection of former U.S. Special Forces Officer.