Antique Mandarin Ancestor In Horseshoe Chair, China (19054BOK)


H: 12.75”  W: 6.625”  D: 5.75” | FREE SHIPPING

This masterfully carved ancestor as a mandarin official sits on horseshoe chair set on a footed high decorated plinth dressed in a well-appointed formal 3-button Mandarin long coat and pointed rattan hat. His face is uniquely and unusually individualized with heavy lidded eyes, in a benevolent expression and his advanced aged indicated by the wrinkles clearly depicting a loved individual. This exquisitely carved image in excellent condition with a fine patina was true homage to a revered family member and is one of our finest ancestor figures.



Mandarin-officials were very highly regarded bureaucratic scholars serving the government of Imperial China and were often honored by their family descendants who included ancestor-figures in Mandarin officials-attire  on the family home altar or shrine from the Ming Dynasty through the Ch’ing or Manchu Dynasty (1644-1912). As part of ancestor-worship these ancestor-figures were the highest form of filial piety.This traditional Mandarin official sits on a well-defined high back horseshoe chair carved in the round, with cabriole legs, arched back and carved dowel supports set on a high elaborate pedestal. He sits in a formal and imposing pose with his arms resting on the chair’s arms to assure that viewers displayed the proper veneration. During the Qing dynasty, round and square backed horseshoe chairs were “markers of high status, seats of honour” (Clunis, p. 14) which, along with the pedestal indicates his high status. He is dressed in compulsory officials-attire: a solid-color calf-length center-fastening surcoat with buttons down the open front called a changshan to reveal a plain long gown (nei tao), informal wear, called “half dress” which meant that he did not have to wear his badge of rank at that time. His Mandarin conical summer official’s headwear (qing guanmao) is made of fine woven split bamboo rattan. The pedestal is covered with inscriptions made when it was consecrated that is too faded to read except for a brief phrase saying February 18th, from 1 am to 3 am,  and Another phrase  “long live forever.”

Click here for the Blog Consecrating Wooden Images to Imbue Them with A Life Force


Craig Clunis, “Chinese Furniture,” Victoria and Albert Publications, London, 1988.

Valery M. Garrett, “A Collector’s Guide to Chinese Dress Accessories,” Singapore, Times Editions

Valery Garret, Chinese Clothing, An Illustrated Guide.” Hong Kong, Oxford University Press, 1994.

Additional information

Dimensions 16 × 12 × 8 in

Antique, Qing Dynasty


18-19th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

: Ht: 12.75" W: 6.625" D: 5.75"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 32.38cm W: 16.82cm D: 14.6cm


Very good, patina and wear consistent with age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size