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16850E

Pair of Taoist House Deities
Item No. 16850E

19th - 20th Century, Taoist / Popular Religions, China
Lacquer over Wood with Gilt
7.75" x 2.5" x 1.75"
( 19.685 x 6.35 x 4.445 cm)
(H x W x D)

This pair of carvings, which are mirror images of each other, are Taoist deities, possibly the God and Goddess of Wealth. Each is seated on a backless chair set on a carved footed pedestal. Each sits with his/her hands clasped together in front of the chest and covered by a folded ritual cloth draped in two layers. There is an indentation in the clothes which indicates they may originally have held a "hu" tablet. Hu tablets are narrow memorandum tablets, originally of ivory, which were carried by high officials and were considered as marks of rank. Taoist officials and deities were often portrayed carrying these tablets. They are dressed in layered official's robes, with black bordered collars and high undergarments tied at the waist with long sashes and trailing down to the hem of the undergarment. A black border lines the outer garment and the long sleeves which hang open past the knees. The full and deeply carved faces have eyes with lids lowered in a solemn gaze, flanked by pendulous ears. He wears a ribbed official's hat with five points, and she wears an arched hat with swirl decorations at the ears. Given the quality of the carving, these figures were probably in the home of a higher status family. The surfaces of both are covered with a finish of gold, red and black lacquer with minor losses. The cavity in the back of the female figure is open and contains the original document which was placed there during an eye opening ceremony. Both figures are in very good condition with their laquer finishes intact.

Select for detailed information about Chinese Ancestor Statues.

Select for detailed information about Chinese Eye Opening Ceremony.

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