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Queen Mother of the West
Item No. 16083

18th - 19th Century, Taoist / Popular Religions, China
Lacquer over Wood and Polychrome
11" x 5" x 3"
( 27.94 x 12.7 x 7.62 cm)
(H x W x D)

The Queen Mother of the West is regarded as the most significant female deity in the Taoist pantheon and is highly regarded in the Popular Religions of China as well. In China she is known as Hsi Wang Mu, the Royal Lady of the West. She lives in the Kunlun, located south of the Takla Makan desert in western China in a Western Paradise. Her residence is a golden palace with jasper and marble buildings, a nine story tower by a lake on luxuriant grounds filled with sparkling brooks, white cranes, red phoenixes, and peach trees that have a rich fragrance which can be discerned for miles. Even the unhappiest person could be lulled to sleep by their captivating aroma.

Statue such as this were probably placed on home shrines for private worship by Taoist devotees. She sits in the characteristic mode of smaller images with her left hand obscured by her robes and her right holding the edge of the sleeve between her thumb and the rest of the fingers of her hand. She wears a high collared robe, crossed at the neck and held at the waist with a broad sash. Her face is set in a pensive mode framed by elongated ears of an enlightened being. Atop her head is her characteristic phoenix. She sits on a backless throne curved in the front to the shape of her body. Much of the red and black pigment of her robes and hair remain.

The cavity in the back of the figure has been opened, containing cloth documents bound in string.

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