Antique Puppet Head of Queen Mother of the West, China (16800BCE) SPECIAL PRICE

Original price was: $950.00.Current price is: $750.00.

H: 17”  W: 4.25”  D: 4.5” | CALL/EMAIL FOR SHIPPING QUOTE

Chinese puppet theatre thrived, educated and entertained people with puppets that usually had detachable heads. A very popular figure, the Queen Mother of the West is one of the highest ranking female Taoist deities venerated by women as a powerful, independent deity embodying yin (female energy) who they prayed to for health and long life. Her complex elaborate headdress includes a large outstretched tortoise atop her iconic symbol, the phoenix, all flanked by two nagas under an arch bordered with a scale like finish, a truly unique and impressive image. She is mounted on a modern contemporary frosted acrylic base.



Chinese puppets historically played a large role in entertaining the general public and in educating rural illiterate populations especially about the role and importance of deities  such as the Queen-Mother of the West Xiwangmu.  This puppet’s headdress blends influences associated with the long history of the Queen Mother who evolved as a significant goddess from the Zhou to the Tang dynasty. In the Ming and Qing dynasties she became a cult figure with local temples dedicated to her and artisans modifying her features and iconography making her more folk than regal. Her title was  “Mother of the Golden Tortoise” in the Zhou when she was depicted as a wild and disheveled shaman goddess of death. In this rare antique-Chinese-wood-carving her complex elaborate headdress includes a large outstretched tortoise atop a phoenix flanked by two nagas surrounded by an arch bordered with a scale like finish. The stylized tortoise with outstretched legs associates her with early ritualistic, oracular, and shamanism rites of turtle shell divination. During the Tang she was upgraded to imperial standing as one of the most important female Taoist-Deities depicted as a humanized beautiful goddess “Ruler of Heaven” a representation which is symbolized in the phoenix in her headdress, one of the mythical animals shown here with flattened outspread wings representing eternal life. In 17th -19th centuries, she became a syncretic deity with a huge cult following in Taoism, Buddhism, and Popular Religion who was the wife of the Jade Emperor and venerated by women as a powerful, independent deity who embodies ultimate yin (female energy, and controls immortality and the afterlife. Lee Irvin defines her as one of the Great Chinese Goddesses.

Click here for the blog Queen Mother of the West Xiwangmu: Taoism’s Iconic Female Sovereign of Immortals 


Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


Early 19th century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht:17” W:4.25” D: 4.5”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 43.18cm W: 10.80cm D: 10.80cm


3lbs 7oz


Very good, see description

Item Number


Shipping Box Size