Carving of a Taoist San Guan Shen Deity
Item No. 19015
18th - 19th Century, Taoist / Popular Religions, China
Lacquer over Wood and Polychrome
8.5" x 3" x 2.25"
( 21.59 x 7.62 x 5.715 cm)
(H x W x D)
This image probably 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 on a backless seat. Both hand are held up crossed in front of his chest which originally held a removable hu tablet that would have read "Tien Guan bestows good fortune." He is garbed in an over coat held open to reveal a high necked under garment with two layers of sashes hanging down the front of the garment. He wears an official's ribbed cap with vertical projections high on his forehead and curled around the back. His face with carved arched eyebrows, open lidded eyes, large flat nose, and large pendulous ears engenders feelings of respect, power and integrity. He sits on a tiered backless pedestal.
The statue is retains much of its original red, gold and black lacquer. There is some erosion to the back which appears to have been covered over to protect the cavity and its contents. 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 after Chinese New Year.
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