Antique God of Wealth Caishen, China (19313BCK)


H: 10.25”  W: 4.75”  D: 3.625” | FREE SHIPPING

This beautifully carved  God of Wealth (Caishen) is portrayed as are all Taoist deities as an authoritative figure, right hand firmly placed on his knee and left hand holding a tael. His outer robe has decorative borders down the front and carved coins at the shoulders, stomach, and an undergarment is gathered with a floral designed tasseled cord. His well-defined face with incised wrinkles and long beard has a benevolent expression with rounded cheeks and an open mouth, topped by an elaborate official’s hat with ribbon-like extensions. Very fittingly, it is painted with red and gold both associated with wealth.


China wealth-gods have been ubiquitous, appearing and venerated on home altars, temples, and business establishments. States Yang (p. 76) worship of wealth gods was one of the most common cult practices in China among all strata of society from the poor to the wealthy, especially the merchant class and was fostered by a pressing desire for wealth among all classes who recognized the difficulty to attain it through individual human efforts and the uncontrollable and random effects of chance and luck. Many Taoist-deities specialized in different aspects of life; some addressed acquiring wealth while others were responsible for imposing social and moral restrictions on how it was acquired. Wealth gods were placed in a position of honor on a home altar along with other house and religious gods and required attention and veneration with periodic offerings and prayers. Caishen was the most revered God of Wealth and attributes identifying him, as here, his horseshoe chair, elaborate officials-attire and officials headwear, a coin and a tael representing wealth, and overall colors of red and gilt. Especially during the two-week of Chinese New Years celebration, incense is burned in front of home altar images as well as in Caishen temples and the traditional New Years greeting is “Gongxi facai” which means “May you become rich.” The open rear cavity indicates it was consecrated. Except for old, stabilized insect damage to the base, this exceptional carving is in excellent condition. This is part of the VA Deities-and-Legends Collection.

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Jonathan Chamberlain, Chinese Gods, Selangor, Pelanduk Publications, Malaysia, 1997.
Stephan Feuchtwang, Popular Religion in China: The Imperial Metaphor, London, Routledge Curzon, 2001.

Fabrizio Pregadio, The Encyclopedia of Taoism, Volume 1, New York, Routledge, 2008. 

Keith Stevens, Chinese Gods: The Unseen World of Spirits and Demons, London, Collins & Brown Limited, 1997.

Keith G. Stevens, Images of Asia: Chinese Mythological Gods, New York, Oxford University Press, 2001.

C.K Yang, Religion in Chinese Society, Berkley, University of California Press, 1961

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 14 × 10 × 6 in

Antique, Qing Dynasty


19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 10.25” W: 4.75” D: 3.625”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 26.04cm W: 12.06cm D: 9.21cm


1 lb 4 oz


Excellent, See Descripton

Reference Number