Label: It is believed that the Dipper Mother (Doumu) grants longevity, affluence, and protection to her worshipers. Following Daoist tradition, the clouds on the screen are in the shape of a wish-granting fungus of immortality. In this unusual image the Daoist goddess Doumu appears inside the sun disk in the guise of Marici, Buddhist goddess of the dawn. She is three headed, with her left head that of a boar. Holding aloft sun and moon disks, bow and arrows, and bell and vase, she rides on a chariot of seven boars (representing the seven stars of the Big Dipper) among the clouds. She is flanked by two kings-warriors brandishing weapons. Below her is a small charioteer, pulling the ropes of her chariot, along with what are known as the Three Commanders: a warrior carrying a flag; Leigong, the bird-beaked god of thunder with his mallet and chisel; and Panguan the Judge, with his brush and record of human wrongdoings.
Exhibition History: "Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
The Daoist goddess Doumu rides her chariot at the center of this scholar’s tabletop screen, which carries multiple symbols of immortality. Doumu has been combined with the Buddhist goddess of the dawn, Marichi, who can be recognized by her characteristic boar’s head.
In Chinese thought, Doumu represents the Big Dipper and drives the chariot of its seven constituent stars. Around her are members of the celestial hierarchy, to whom the Big Dipper is home. In her hands, Doumu holds the sun and the moon, along with a bow and arrow, a bell, and vase. The circle around Doumu’s entourage represents the sun as well. Her luminous imagery, with its celestial referents, is thought to extend life. Even the clouds are executed in the shape of the wishgranting fungus of immortality (lingzhi).
(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)