Antique Elegant Queen Mother of the West, China (16096JASK)
H: 17.25” W: 8” D” 6” | CALL 213-568-3030 FOR SHIPPING
This extremely fine image portrays the Queen Mother of the West as an elegant resolute mature woman with an indomitable stare seated on a traditional backless throne set on a high pedestal. Her ornate headdress is centered by a massive phoenix representing the sun and her authority which is almost as large as her head. She is officially and gracefully garbed with hands under a ritual cloth that used to hold her staff. The entire image is a triangular form culminating in the triangular shaped bird in the center of her headdress which adds to its stature, stability and power. She is still revered as a patron deity of women, a divine teacher who control the length of people’s lives and is closely associated with the cultivation of virtue and immortality. On her holy birthday devotees, especially women, gather in temples to hold celebration rituals.
The Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu) is one of the most significant female Taoist-deities and one of the Great Chinese Goddesses. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, she attracted huge cult following, as she, like Guanyin and Matsu, became a syncretic deity popular among devotees of Taoism, Popular Folk Religion, and Buddhism. Her immeasurable powers grant her complete control over life and creation, death and destruction and the ability to determine every living being’s lifespan. She is the keeper of the Tao, the grantor of prosperity, and the goddess of righteousness. She lives with her husband the Jade Emperor in a golden palace on Kunlun Mountain, a Western Paradise with luxuriant grounds, cranes, phoenixes, and the fabled peach tree that bears fruits every 3000 years when she serves them to gods and mortals, especially emperors and Taoist masters, to grant them immortality. She is the only deity in the Chinese pantheon who can talk directly to humans and her peach tree with its long roots and tall branches is an intermediary between humans and heaven. She is the supreme matriarch and ancestor of all other female deities and oversees and all female immortals and those who live in the human world. Her key iconographic feature is her headdress with a large phoenix, an emblem of beauty symbolizing the sun, as described in the famous Classic of Mountains and Oceans, “Xiwangmu rests on a stool and wears an ornament on her head… [and] holds a staff.” This image was displayed on a home altar, or community clan or small temple shrine. Carved from dense wood with polychrome, gilt, and lacquer on the front side, this antique-Chinese-carving triangular shape culminates in the elaborately carved headdress which adds to its stability and strength. it is in excellent condition with a crack on the back, most of the polychrome pigmentation and lacquer intact, minor insect holes now stabilized, and some losses consistent with age and use, none of which compromises its integrity. Listed in the Deities-and-Legends category, this carving is part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection of Taoist-Deities.
Sources Chun-Fang Yu, Kuan-yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara, New York, Columbia University Press, 2001.
Click here for the blog Queen Mother of the West Xiwangmu: Taoism’s Iconic Female Sovereign of Immortals
|Place of Origin||
Antique, Ming/Qing Dynasties
|Materials and Technique||
Wood, polychrome, lacquer
Ht: 17.25 W: 8” D” 6”
Ht: 43.81cm W: 20.32cm D: 15.24cm
Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use
18” to 23.9”
|Shipping Box Size|