Antique Civilian Official Ancestor Figure, China (16848BEM) $395


H: 13.75″  W: 5.25″  D: 4″ | FREE SHIPPING!

This ancestor figure, carved in boxwood the preferred wood softwood during the Qing Dynasty, is portrayed in the characteristic pose of a Chinese civilian official, grasping his official’s belt with his right hand to demonstrate his important stature – which was really not so important for this gentleman, given his humble seating furniture and his modest attire. His right hand rests on the his knee as he sits erect on a thick low-back pedestal. Unlike many officials who are serious, this one is more approachable, with simple deeply carved smiling features, high arching brows and a black painted mustache and beard.



Honoring one’s ancestors through pictorial and sculptural images, especially a wood carving reflected the Confucian virtue of filial piety, although carved ancestral images were favored as the vehicle for a more intimate and continual communication. Ancestor figures were placed on a home altar for family members to venerate with daily offerings of joss (incense), fruit and flowers generally by the eldest male. The wealthier the family, the more elaborate the carving and the accoutrements of the image. They were often depicted like this carving as Chinese-officials wearing officials attire and high hat with two pointed prongs, as achieving the rank of civilian official was an honor to the family and a sign of high status. The red robe representing fu (the Five Blessings or Happinesses) with a black border in alternating red and green stripes hangs to cover his shoes .This piece was originally covered in lacquer that darkened with age and candle and incense smoke. It is in very good condition for its age and use with a nonstructural crack on back, stabilized insect holes, expected wear and minor paint losses The empty cavity on the back indicates it was consecrated.

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


Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 16 × 12 × 8 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


18-19th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 13.75" W: 5.75" D: 4"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 34.92cm W: 14.60cm D: 25.78cm


2 lbs


Very good, see description

Item Number


Shipping Box Size