Antique Kitchen God and His Wife (16850D-BME)


H: 7.25″  W: 3″  D: 1.625″

This pair of the Kitchen God and his wife 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 to symbolize holding a hu tablet, and reflect reverence and solemnity for deities who hold the future of multiple generations in their hands. These images are in very good shape and were consecrated.


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. Each  antique-Chinese-wood-carving of this pair holds a hu-tablet or has an indentation to symbolize holding one. Kitchen Gods radiate warmth, especially when placed near the  stove. This folk-art pair makes unique house warming or wedding gifts and add positive chi to any household. They  were covered in red, the color of fu, and lacquer which has darkened naturally over time and from exposure to candle and incense smoke. The cavity on male figure has its original bung, while the bung on the female is missing, exposing contents inside – a thin string tied around the script placed by a monk when it was consecrated. 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



19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 7.25” W: 3.” D: 1.6255”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 7.25” W: 3.” D: 1.6255”




Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size