The “Queen Mother of the West” in Chinese mythology. Her oldest tales seem to date from the late Zhou or Han dynasties, and her story and attributes underwent great changes as time went on and she grew more important as a Daoist figure.
The ancient goddess started out as the goddess of plagues. In early mythological tales, Xi Wang Mu was portrayed as a monster, with the head and face of a human being, the teeth of a tiger, and the tail of a leopard. She ruled over the demons of plague and illness.
By the first century a.d., the monster had been transformed into a benevolent noblewoman who helped human beings become immortal. In late Daoist myth, she plays an important role in the many tales about the Ba Xian, or Eight Immortals, helping them learn the secrets of immortality and inviting them to feast on the peaches of immortality from her garden orchard. She is also an important figure in the story of Yi and his wife, Zhang E, to whom she gives the Elixir of Eternal Life.
Some later legends say she is the wife of Dong Wang Gong, the “Royal Lord of the East,” who kept track of the Daoist Immortals. The royal couple had nine sons and 24 daughters and lived in Kunlun in a palace with buildings made of marble and jasper. A nine-story jade pagoda rose to the sky, overlooking sparkling brooks and gorgeous gardens where magical peach trees grew. The fruit from these trees was said to blossom and ripen only once every 3,000 years. Eating it made a person immortal.
As the myths about her became more popular, she was further transformed into the wife of the Jade Emperor, Yu Huang, at the time the highest god in the pantheon of deities.
Various emperors were said to have visited her mountain palace in order to legitimize their claims to rule. Daoist philosophers considered her to be Yin, the female element of the Yin and Yang concept of harmony. Some mythologists have connected her to a deity mentioned as the “West Mother” in oracle bones from the Shang dynasty.
Information Source: Pagans After Dark
If I was to interpret the symbolism in this image, I would say it tells the story of creation once again. I see the bowl of pomegranates, the two fans, the birds gazing in differing directions. I see the triple crown of illumination. I see the two colours of blue and red. I see the energy of space poured out upon the earth from the fertile place down a ladder of seven. I see the triple nature of our divinity shown in the very last strand of the centre cloth flowing down.
Images @ Eminpee Fotography