Antique Kitchen God and his Wife, China (16850E BME)


H: 7.75″  W: 2.875″  D: 1.875″

This Kitchen God and His Wife are near mirror images and carved with fine quality and lesser but sufficient details. They sit on backless chairs on a high plinth, with similar layered gold officials’ robes with black borders and red decorative sashes with faded painted designs and clasped hands covered in ritual cloth symbolizing holding a hu tablet, and well-carved, articulated, well presented and very different headdresses. Their faces are generalized with carved and painted features, with the reverence and solemnity associated with house gods whose future of families are in their hands.



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 has an indentation to symbolize holding a hu-tablet. 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. Painted with red, the color of fu and gold and coated with lacquer, they are in excellent condition with fine patinas and both have been consecrated with the script from the consecration remaining in the wife’s cavity but missing from the male’s cavity. 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.

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Additional information

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 9 × 6 in

Antique, Qing Dynasty


19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome, lacquer

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 7.75” W: 2.875” D: 1.875” Dimensions: Ht: 19.68cm W: 7.30cm D: 4.76cm

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 19.68cm W: 7.30cm D: 4.76cm


13 oz


Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size