Mythic Art: Sovereign of the Clouds of Dawn

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Sovereign of the Clouds at Dawn, Ming Dynasty
Mythic Art
By MISSY ROSENTHAL 

Sovereign of the Clouds was created and commissioned for the last group of the Chinese dynastic cycle, the Ming dynasty. The piece tells the story of the Saintly Mother or the story of the Sovereign of the Clouds of Dawn, which came to existence fairly late in Chinese history, early Ming era. The Saintly Mother of the Shandong province and many come to worship her on the east peak of the Five Sacred Peaks. The Saintly Mother's father, the g-d of Mount Tai, controls the gateway to death. Contrarily, the Saintly Mother exhibits compassion in relation to life such as childbirth. The Saintly Mother's bright aura and her father's dark aura are essential to the balance of life. The relationship illustrated by these two deities are what originate the Taoist principle of yin yang, where without two opposing forces a balanced society would cease to exist. 

Sovereign of the Clouds depicts the Saintly Mother in her celestial court. The Mother is shown with birds on her headdress showing her support of all life. The intricate patterns and decadent clothing illustrate Ming culture. Red in Chinese culture symbolizes luck and prosperity, which the Saintly Mother expresses in her garments. Cultures from all over the world contain myths that still play an active role in society. The principle of yin yang was applied to Chinese culture as a result of this myth and remains a quintessential marker of Chinese culture. For this reason Sovereign of the Clouds should be classified as Mythic Art. 

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