Antique Kitchen God and His Wife, China (16840BME)


H: 7.5″  W: 2.875″  D: 2″

This pair is VA’s most unique and finely crafted Kitchen God couple. Both are mirror-images on backless chairs on a multi-sided pedestals, wear beautifully carved flowing officials’ robes, clasped hands at their chests covered in ritual cloth holding Hu tablets.  Their faces show requisite reverence and solemnity but have soft approachable features and subtly smiling lips. The original red and overall gilt and lacquer coating have darkened naturally over time. They have a painted character on the base expressing a wish for “happiness.”  These exceptional consecrated pieces are in excellent condition with a fine patina.



While most families have had prints or paper-cuts of the Kitchen-God (Zao Shen) with or without his wife above their stove, carved images were owned by wealthier families. The Kitchen-God is syncretic as a Taoist, Popular Religion and Buddhist tutelary deity, beloved among house-gods as protector of the home. He observes the family’s behavior and morality and on Chinese New Year ascends to the heavens to report to the Jade Emperor where a favorable report brings blessings, good fortune and continued life, and a poor one brings misfortune or possible death to family members. This pair of antique-Chinese-wood-carving are mirror-images on backless chairs with multi-sided pedestals wearing simplified officials robes. Both are finely carved, clasp hands at their chests covered in ritual cloth  Unlike most small images they hold an actual hu-tablet rather than having an indentation to symbolize holding one that reflect reverence and solemnity for deities who hold the future of multiple generations in their hands. . Their red pigment, representing fu, and lacquer remain. The male figure’s cavity is covered with its original bung, while the bung on the female figure is missing, exposing the paper script placed when it was consecrated.  Kitchen Gods radiate warmth, especially when placed near the stove and are unique house warming or wedding gifts and add positive chi to any home. This pair is part of the VA Deities-and-Legends Collection.

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



Additional information

Dimensions 12 × 9 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 7.5” W: 2.875” D: 2”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 19.05cm W: 7.30cm D: 5.08cm


1 lb 3oz


Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Reference Number