Queen Mother of the West, Xiwangmu Artist: Unknown

14th century

Asian Art

The elaborate costume and phoenix headdress firmly establish the figure in this intricate embroidery as Xiwangmu, Queen Mother of the West and head of the Daoist pantheon. This textile has an interesting history. A misleading title strip at right misidentifies the figure as Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, known in Sanskrit as Avalokiteshvara, and earlier scholars followed this identification. The title strip also erroneously categorizes the embroidery as a tapestry, another clue that the strip was added after the piece was produced, probably during a remounting.


Hanging scroll: silk with silk embroidery and applique


without mounting: 39 × 18 3/8 in. (99.1 × 46.7 cm)

Credit Line

Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore

Accession Number



Yuan dynasty (1279–1368)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Mrs. William H. Moore (1858–1955) New York; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1937

  • Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 301, ill
  • George J. Lee, Selected Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1970), 254, no. 467, ill
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