Carving of a Pair of House Deities on Single Base
Item No. 19025
Late 19th Century, Taoist / Popular Religions, China
Lacquer over Wood with Polychrome and Gilt
9" x 8" x 2.75"
( 22.86 x 20.32 x 6.985 cm)
(H x W x D)
This statue represents a pair of male and female Taoist figures carved on a long high pedestal seated in close proximity to each other on separate backless chairs. Each of their hands are held before them clasped together under a short three layered ritual cloth which partially covers the hu tables which they originally grasp. Hu tablets are narrow memorandum tablets, originally of ivory, which were carried by high officials and were considered as marks of rank. Hu tablets are strongly associated with Taoist figures. Each figure is dressed in a long sleeved mid length overcoat which is open to reveal their robes underneath with large decorative scalloped cowls at the neck. She wears a flat headdress and long earrings which extend to her shoulders. He wears a high hat with a plain red border resting on the forehead. Both have carved arched eyebrows meeting at the nose above heady lidded eyes cast down in solemn serenity. He has a the remains of a beard and hair extending from his right ear. Both were originally covered with red and gilt lacquer which has been darkened with years of age and from the soot and smoke from incense lit in front of them when they were originally placed on an altar. The backs of each of the figures contains the original "bung" over a carved niche into which were placed documents and other items during an eye opening ceremony.
Based on their attire, the hu tables and their demeanor, it is probable that these figures represent the god and goddess of wealth. This piece was made in South China.
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