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Image of Taoist San Guan Shen Deity
Item No. 19065

18th - 19th Century, Taoist / Popular Religions, China
Lacquer over Wood with Polychrome and Gilt
12" x 6" x 3"
( 30.48 x 15.24 x 7.62 cm)
(H x W x D)

This image represents Tian Guan, one of the three Taoist Deities referred to as the Three Official Divinities, or San Guan Shen. Tian Guan is known as the Deity of Heaven who brings good fortune to devotees and their families. He is shown here, as is typical, seated regally and with authority with both hand held up before his chest holding a removable tablet hu table that would have read "Tian Guan bestows good fortune." He is garbed in voluminous robes, with a sumptuous overcoat reaching to the tip of his shoes and open to reveal a belt from which extends a long sash. A rectangular pendant hands from a broad band around his neck, and may be an official seal. He wears an official's cap with six vertical strands and beaded border on his forehead. His full face with deeply carved broad lidded eyes, large protruding nose, double chin and large pendulous ears engenders feelings of respect, power and integrity.

The figure originally sat on a separate chair which is now missing. On his back are two cavities, one behind the head and one centered in the back, that were used during an eye opening ceremony. The lower larger cavity us closed with its original carved bung and contains the contents placed there when it was consecrated. This image was probably placed on a home altar where devotees lit incense and made offering of fruit, vegetables, flowers, wine and paper cut outs during the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month aftr Chinese New Year.

The image is in very good shape, with losses to the bottom.

Select for detailed information about Chinese Three Official Deities (San Kuan Shen).

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