Antique Queen Mother of the West on Horse, China (16138BSE)
H: 14.75” W: 5.25” D: 6.875” | FREE SHIPPING
In this Queen Mother of the West image, her significance as one of the most important and powerful Chinese goddesses is indicated by making her very large in comparison to her horse. The regal horse is adorned with a wide blanket, prominent headgear and a double-rowed harness with a decorative medallion. She wears her characteristic headdress with a phoenix, her square face framed by abundant hair, pendulous ears and dangling earrings. Her right hand holds up the cup with the elixir of immortality. She is worshipped today in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other overseas Chinese communities.
, who is outfitted to reflect the importance of the deity he carries
Among the oldest Chinese female Taoist-deities, the Queen-Mother of the West is mentioned in 300 BCE in sacred texts as a goddess who “obtained the Tao.” She is a patron deity of women, a divine teacher associated with the cultivation of virtue and immortality, and controls life, death, creation, and destruction of individuals and cultures. She lives with her husband the Jade Emperor on sumptuous palatial estate on Mount Kunlun where she tends the famed peach tree that blooms every 3000 years and offers immortality to whoever eat the peaches. According to Irvin, she is one of the Great Chinese Goddesses. She is recognized by a phoenix in her headdress, an emblem of beauty that symbolizes the sun and the peach of immortality which she holds her right hand. Her pendulous ears are a sign of her enlightened status and her long three-part gown with a high collared tunic signifies her regal status. It is in good condition attached to a decorative plinth which was added later, and retains much of its original red and black and thick lacquer coat with some losses and cracks consistent with age and use. Like other Taoist images on our site she is seated on a horse, and although we haven’t found definitive documentation about the Queen Mother’s association with horses, the frequent presence of horses in Taoist representations probably reflects Laozi’s Tao Te Ching reference to the horse as a symbol of man’s harmony with and the elegance of nature and The Book of Changes claims that the horse represents heaven, a king, a father, and a well-educated man of honor in traditional Chinese culture. Dr. Thomas Ritter notes that the frequent presence of horses in Taoist images symbolizes man’s harmony with and the elegance of nature. The back cavity is missing its cover (bung), but contains the script inserted when it was consecrated, indicating it was probably placed on a home altar. This carving is part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection of Deities-and-Legends.
Click here for the Blog Queen Mother of the West Xiwangmu: Taoism’s Iconic Female Sovereign of Immortals
Click here for the Blog Consecrating Wooden Images to Imbue Them with A Life Force
|Dimensions||18 × 12 × 6 in|
|Place of Origin||
Antique, Qing Dynasty
|Materials and Technique||
Wood, polychrome, lacquer
Ht: 14.75" W: 5.25" D: 6.875"
Ht: 37.46cm W: 13.33cm D: 17.46cm
3 lbs 7oz
Good, paint/surface losses consistent with age and use, no restorations/repairs
|Shipping Box Size|