As with all Taoist artworks, the natural world is focus of the screens; even though the Hussein, or immortals, appear to be in a very indoors environment, the entire scene itself is out in the natural world. 2 It is reflective of the escapist attitude of the Momma erred where the Taoist would look to the natural world to escape from the chaos of reality, such as in the case of the screens where the immortals attempt to leave the interior spaces Of their drinking party to the surrounding landscape.
Likewise, the immortals, themselves also symbolized spirituality and escape from the chaos of reality. 3 The immortals also communicate a connection between mankind and the natural world. That the immortals sought to abandon everyday life and achieve true enlightenment, but that they choose to envelope themselves in the natural world is the artist telling he viewer that transcendentalism is achieved by a concentration on nature.
By being drunk, the immortals are also very “pure” according to Taoist philosophy and the artist depicts them harmonically connected with the natural world, as opposed to the more composed and restricted high society lives each immortal endures regularly-4 Furthermore, it is important to note, that while the immortals themselves are drawn very simply with blocks of color, the exception being the patterns on their clothes, the landscape, while highly stylized, is painstakingly detailed especially the water. It illustrates owe nature was held high in reverence in the Momma period, to the point that the landscape becomes more important than the subjects of the screen, the immortals. By making the immortals less important than nature in the painting, the artist is making a statement that man is smaller than nature. The fact that nature is depicted in such a stylized fashion meant that the Taoist understood nature on a deeper, more fundamental level than just the outward reality, in which they were trying to escape.
The screens captured the essence of the water, trees, and foliage of the landscape but the viewer can Leary understand that the artist forgone the realistic approach. The Momma period was one that looked back into the past often; it became afraid of chaos, not just in the previous Warring States Period, but also afraid of disorder in everyday life. It sought to escape that disorder through the natural environment, and the art it produced captured that culture.
From The Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup, the viewer understands not only the Taoist- inspired connection between man and the natural world, but also the escapist attitudes of the Momma period from everyday life towards the natural oral Bibliography Pitman, Bonnie. Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection. Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 2012. Hickman, Money L. Japan’s Golden Age: Momma.