Antique Taoist Official Holding a Hu Tablet, China (19043QRK)


H: 12.875”  W: 5”  D: 2.75” | FREE SHIPPING!

This carving probably represents a Taoist official or priest as he wears a traditional high hat, a high collared robe adorned with painted cobalt blue cloud designs, and an official’s belt. Seated on a modest low backless chair, he holds a long, slender and curved Hu tablet.



Taoist images were represented as scholars, sages, heroes, deities, officials and priests. When these images are taken out of context they are very difficult to identify so we describe them in generic terms as a Taoist Officials, Taoist Priests or Taoist Deities. We identify this image with the term Taoist Official as he holds a hu-tablet that is associated with Taoist-Officials as are the clouds (yun) on his robes. This antique-Chinese-wood-carving was probably placed on a home altar along with other house gods and figures, and religious images associated with ancestor- worship.  Taoist priests and officials were responsible for protecting people against evil spirits in this life while Buddhist monks were responsible for looking after souls in the next life. Taoist images on home altars represented a wish to ward off malevolent spirits and bad luck. The carved open rear cavity without its wood cover (bung) contains a small package that probably is a consecration script inserted when it was consecrated. Made from a light wood, the carving is in good condition, with a worn surface, faded paint, and some cracks that are obvious signs of constant and long use, but much of the painted decoration and facial features, which may have been added later, remain. This piece is part of the VA Taoist-Art Collection.

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Additional information

Weight 7 lbs
Dimensions 14 × 10 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


18th century

Materials and Technique

Good, worn, surface, expectedd cracks for its age

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 12.875" W: 5" D: 2.75"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 32.70cm W: 12.7cm D: 6.97cm


1 lb


Good, expected worn surface, faded paint, cracks for age and use.

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size