Antique Head of Queen Mother of the West with 3 Phoenix Headdress, China, (16804BCK) $625

$625.00

H: 4.75″    W: 4 ”    D:  4.5″  | FREE SHIPPING!

This unique carved head is the Queen Mother of the West, the first Chinese deity to be represented in Chinese art and the most important female deity in the Taoist pantheon. Carved from a single piece of wood, it is either  a puppet head or was attached to a larger figure. Her headdress has three phoenixes instead of her iconic single phoenix. Having a cavity on the rear of the head is rare indicating it might have been consecrated by a Taoist monk.

Description

This lovely carving is likely the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu) and may be a puppet head or an attachment to a larger figure. Xiwangmu is the most important female deity in the Taoist pantheon generally identified by a single phoenix in her headdress. The unique headdress here has three phoenixes instead of her iconic single phoenix. The phoenix has many symbolic meanings: it signifies power, prosperity, high rank and good fortune and conveys auspicious energy. Chinese legend states a phoenix descends from the heavens when a compassionate ruler is born or at the start of a new age of peace and harmony. Three phoenixes here are associated with traditional Han headware during the Qing Dynasty. Known as a phoenix crown, coronet or fengguan hat, it was worn for official occasions and ceremonies by the Empress, Emperor’s concubines, noblewomen and affluent brides as part of wedding apparel. So, this carving may also have been used for any of these powerful women. The calm demeanor, slightly smiling lips and downward half-closed eyes of this head emit a sense peace and bliss and the long earlobes indicate wisdom. Xiwangmu was the first Chinese deity to be represented in Chinese art, regarded as the keeper of the Tao, the grantor of prosperity and the goddess of righteousness who determines the length of her devotees’ lives. The small carved area on the rear implies it may have been consecrated by a Taoist priest which is very unusual for puppets, so this is another indication that the carving might have been attached a large carved image. The piece is in very good condition with expected cracks, paint and lacquer losses from age and use. The hole in the front of the headdress might have held a small phoenix head. It is mounted on a contemporary frosted acrylic stand and is part of the VA Collection of Deities-and-Legends.

Additional information

Place of Origin

China

Period

Antique, Qing Dynasty

Date

18-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 14.75” W: 4” D: 4.5

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 37.46cm W: 10.16cm D: 11.43cm

Weight

2lb 6oz

Condition

Very good, see description

Reference Number

16804BCK

Shipping Box Size