Antique Taoist Priest with Elixir of Life, China (14018XCK) $295


H: 7.25”  W: 2.75”  D: 2” | FREE SHIPPING!

Taoist priests like this were placed on home altars to bring wishes of fu – a virtuous, prosperous and long to the home in which they were placed. This vibrant figure hold a ritual cup symbolically containing the elixir of life in his left hand. The open back cavity reveals the slip that was placed there during a consecration ceremony by a taoist priest.



Historically and through a recent resurgence of religious practices in small local communities Buddhist, Taoist, and Popular Religion cultural and religious practices are reflected in the ancestor worship of carved wood figures of deities, monks and priests and ancestor figures on a home altar. Carvings of Taoist priests called daoshi often appear on a home altar many bearing Taoist symbols such as cups with the Elixir of Life containing a potion granting the drinker eternal life. These small antique-Chinese-wood-carvings often painted in red, the color of fu, are believed to honor ancestors and protect and bring into the home fu, divine favors and the Five Blessings or Happinesses:  longevity, wealth, health, love of virtue, and a peaceful death. Seated on a backless chair on a raised pedestal this Taoist priest wears characteristic priest’s attire: a black hat, colorful red and black robe clasped at the front with a round ornament from which hangs a sash with gold circles and an undergarment with red and black border designs holding a ritual cup symbolically containing the elixir of life in his left hand. His facial features are whimsically painted with fluttering eyebrows, and other areas of the robes are highlighted with raised lacquer decorations. Buddhist monks are believed to enhance one’s karma, while Taoist priests bestow longevity and immortality through their blessings, potions and elixirs. Family members propitiate them regularly with offerings of food, flowers, incense, candles, and other treasures and also on special holidays and important family occasions. As all home altar figures, this carving was blessed in a consecration ceremony, and while the bung is missing, the contents placed there remains.



Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


Late 19th/Early 20th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 7.25” W: 2.75” D: 2”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 18.42cm W: 6.98cm D: 5.08cm


Excellent, age appropriate signs of wear

Item Number



15 oz