Antique Guanyin on a Mythical Hǒu, China (16370BCK)


H: 9.5”  W: 2.25”  D: 6.5” | FREE SHIPPING

This remarkable and enchanting figurine is Guanyin on her mount, the Hǒu. Although the Hǒu is often a compilation of 10 animals, here it resembles a Buddhist lion with its open roaring mouth displaying its fangs, a beard, a bushy tail, deer horns and fish scales covering its body The round orb in its mouth representing a pearl can be rubbed for good luck. She is modestly dressed, hair is in a plain bun with a simple crown, and devoid of jewels. She sits on a delicately carved saddle with fringe edges, her left hand holding her belt and her right cradling a ruyi scepter.


The Hou (Hǒu) is the most powerful mythical animal in Chinese beliefs, a composite of 10 animals and revered for its ability to gather and guard money for its master, defend him from evil, and protect against bad fortune. As the mount of Guanyin, it sometimes resembles, as here, a Buddhist lion or fu-lion with its mouth open in a roar revealing its fangs which represents Guanyin’s power over the forces of nature. The orb, or pearl in its mouth is considered lucky as rubbing it will bring good fortune. She is portrayed in red, symbolizing fu, and carries a ruyi a wish-granting wand that encompasses all other wishes including blessings, wealth, rank, good fortune, and longevity. As most ruyis, the top section resembles a sacred fungus (lingzhi) which here is centered with a lotus. This antique-Chinese-wood-carving made for a home altar combines the two traditional meanings of a ruyi: in Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, it is a ceremonial scepter, and in Chinese Popular Religion it symbolizes power and good fortune. Guanyin is of the Great Chinese Goddesses and a syncretic deity followed by Buddhist Taoist and Popular Religion devotees. Carved in the provincial tradition, it is one of our most unique and favorite Buddhist-Statues in the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection and is in excellent condition





Additional information

Dimensions 14 × 10 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


18-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 9.5” W: 2.25” D: 6.5”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 24.13cm W: 5.71cm D: 16.51cm


Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Reference Number


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