Antique Taoist Official or Priest with Hu Tablet, China (16095DRK) $245


H: 10.5”  W: 6”  D: 4” | FREE SHIPPING!

This image is a seated Taoist priest or official placed along with ancestor figures and other religious images on a home altar. Wearing long-flowing official’s robes with deep-folds, he ceremonially holds a hu tablet with raised arms and hands under a ritual cloth. Images were frequently damaged or darkened by incense and candle smoke from regular ritualistic offerings and were often repainted or re-lacquered as this was, probably done in the early 20th-century.


Taoist images were represented as scholars, sages, heroes, deities, officials and priests. When these images are taken out of context they are difficult to identify so we describe them in generic terms. Seated  on a backless chair wearing long flowing officials-robes with deep folds, we use the terms  officials/priests for this image, since he his portrayed  arms at his chest, hands clasped and covered by a ritual cloth holding a hu-tablet. Taoist priests holding tablets symbolized they were in the presence of a Taoist deity. His eyes are lowered  solemnly and has pendulous ears – used only for sages and enlightened beings – with hair pulled under his official’s headwear. Images were frequently darkened by incense and candle smoke from ritualistic offerings and were often repainted or re-lacquered as this was, probably done in the early 20th-century. Some of the original polychrome and gilt can be detected under the thick lacquer cover. There is a long crack in the front from the hands to the base which does not comprise the structural integrity of this dense, heavy, and stable carving. 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 were responsible for protecting people against evil spirits in this life while Buddhist monks were responsible for looking after souls in the next life. The back cavity indicates it was consecrated by a Taoist priest in an eye-opening ceremony.

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Additional information

Weight 6 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 10 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


18-19th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 10.495” W: 6” D: 4”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 26..67cm W: 15.24cm D: 10.16cm


1 lb 12 oz


Good to fair, see description

Item Number