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Image of the Queen Mother of the West
Item No. 16093

18th - 19th Century, Taoist / Popular Religions, China
Lacquer over Wood and Polychrome
12" x 5.5" x 4"
( 30.48 x 13.97 x 10.16 cm)
(H x W x D)

This image represents the Taoist deity Xiwangmu, The Queen Mother of the West. She is associated with metal (one of the Five Elements), autumn, and the west, all aspects of the yin force. As a divine personification of yin, she has been widely worshiped from the Han dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220) onward. One of the oldest female deities of China, Xiwangmu is mentioned in the “Inner Chapters” of the Zhuangzi (c. 300 B.C.) as a goddess who “obtained the Tao.”

The Queen Mother of the West is recognized by a single phoenix in her headdress. In this statue the bird sits with its wings held close to its body atop the painted white face of the Queen Mother with solemn eyes cast downward. The elegant image sits on a rounded broad backless throne with her feet resting on a decorated pedestal. She is officially and elegantly garbed in a high-necked outer garment gathered at the center with an ornamental disc and an ornamental scarf hanging from her girdle. Her right hand sits on her knee, and probably originally held a ritualistic object such as a tablet. Her left hand with two fingers held out is in the mudra of casting out the demons. She retains much of her original red polychrome and gilt.

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