Antique Seated Ancestor Official, China (16289BME)


H: 7.25”  W: 4.625”  D: 3.5” | FREE SHIPPING

This finely carved ancestor wears officials-attire and a hat and sits in a horseshoe chair with his feet on a pedestal to  emphasize his power and status. He has finely carved features, pigment and lacquer on the front and back and the piece is painted in red, lacquer and with traces of gilt that has faded over it years of use.This combination makes this a truly a special image having a great patina.


During the Qing Dynasty,  Chinese-Officials were so significant that families often sought to perpetuate as ancestor as an ancestor in carved and painted ancestral images. This antique-Chinese-wood-carving reflects many of the common characteristics of ancestor-figures discussed by Stuart and Rawaski who write that  ancestors portrayed as an official as if they are deities or rulers  to instill awe and devotion in anyone seeing their image. This one sits in a straightforward pose rigidly gestures with his right hand held up as if holding an object and left placed firmly on his knee, all meant to emphase his high status and power. His dignified face with eyes gazed somewhat downward and pieced holes that would have held facial hair on his mouth and chin is unidealized and realistic with a slight smile but without any indication of his emotions or personality. Rather, the emphasis is on his official’sattire – an unadorned robe around his neck with a belt of office above and below his ample stomach, deeply carved sleeves  framing his body, official’s headwear and the horseshoe chair and foot stool meant to reveal his high social status. These were the main function of the image and the family’s goal in commissioning it. The carving is covered overall in warm tones of red covered with lacquer that faded over years of use and there are traces of gilt that originally covered the robe; both are associated with fu as wishes for good fortune and prosperity in the afterlife. Although there are no indications of a rear vavity or its bung cover that it was in a consecration ceremony, it probably was placed on a home altar with other spiritual images, it was certainly a part of ancestor-worship, as ancestor images like this were a high form of filial-piety.


Jan Stuart and Evelyn Rawaski, Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits, Palo Alto, Stanford University Press, 2001

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 9 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


Circa 1750-1850

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 7.25” W: 4.625” D: 3.5”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 18.41cm W: 11.75cm D: 8.89cm


1 lb 3oz


Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size