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Seated Taoist Priest Holding Ritual Items
Item No. 19032

19th Century, Taoist / Popular Religions, China
Lacquer over Wood and Polychrome
9.25" x 3.25" x 2.5"
( 23.495 x 8.255 x 6.35 cm)
(H x W x D)

This Toaist Priest sits on a red backless chair centered by on which is a black painted inscription. He is painted and lacquered with brown tones on his face, neck and hands under which are black and reddish-brown painted layers. Most of the red, black, burgundy and gold hues of the clothing and accessories are extant with some crasking and chipping. The priest's three-quarter length burgundy outer robe and long sleeves are bordered in black with painted gold and white decorations and clasped above the waist with a round gold decorated clasp and held open to reveal his long undergarment tied under his stomach with a red belt and double sash with white designs which extends to the border of his robe. He wears an official's hat with a "beaded" border and four red and gold roundels which may be references to celestial spheres which are important symbolis which are often seen on the Taoist Priest's garments. The rites and rituals of Taoist religious ceremonies are meant to remove distractions and obstacles that prevent worshipers from achieving oneness with the Tao. In his left hand he holds a ritual cup and his right hand holds a tablet, an object characteristic of Taoist officials. The cup probably symbolizes an exlir associated with the assurance of long life. The covering of the back cavity (bung)has been sealed and probably contains documents, sticks and string which were placed there during an eye opening ceremony. There is also an inscription written in black on the back of the seat.

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