Mount Penglai

호라이 선경


石川 寒巌
石川 寒严
이시카와 칸간

Color on paper

A mountain of perpetual youth and longevity which appears in a Chinese legend.

중국 전설에 나오는 불로장수의 산

Mount Penglai was a legendary mountain in Chinese Shenxian believed to be rising over the east sea. It was said that immortal ascetics lived there, the birds and animals were all white, and the palaces were made of gold and platinum. In this work, pine woods and cranes are depicted as symbols of long life.

When Mount Fuji was active as a volcano, believing that smoke from burning immortal medicine was still rising, people referred to it as “the immortal mountain.” This was probably a legend brought about amidst the Japanization of Penglai (Horai in Japanese) belief. In Japan, there is a New-Year decoration called “Horai-kazari,” which is composed of pine, bamboo, and plum ornamented with orange, lobster, kombu (dried seaweed), etc. It is probably also a custom originating in wishes for long life. In this work, too, Mount Penglai appears before our eyes as a utopia that we can never reach.