Antique Seated Taoist Priest Holding Elixir of Immortality (16312BOK) China


H: 9 ”  W: 5 ”   D:3.5  ”    | FREE SHIPPING!

This finely carved, beautifully detailed statue of a Taoist Official was created using a combination of simplified geometric forms and colors to create a small but striking and significant piece. Holding the Elixir of Immortality, the statue symbolizes a wish for a long and happy afterlife. Mounted on a uniquely crafted frosted acrylic base, it complements any décor.


Taoist carvings were often placed on a home altar along with other ancestor images, house-gods and religious figures to bring propitious blessings (fu) to the household. Commissioning and honoring ancestral figures and officials were an important part of filial piety, a cornerstone of ancestor worship and a main tenet of Confucianism. Since Taoists were represented in many forms, we use the term Taoist to signify an official, priest or sage called a daoshi (道士 “master of the Tao”). During the Ming and Qing, Taoists were often portrayed wearing Manchu formal attire for ritual ceremonies or state occasions required by the Manchus rulars of China after the decline of the Ming dynasty. It consisted of a long-sleeve black Mandarin jacket/tunic (changshan) with 3 to 5 buttons and white piping and a black formal hat (guan) atop a long pigtail. This masterfully crafted official has a calm, sincere and expressive face. His forehead and mouth creases indicate his age and the wisdom associated with his senior status. He holds an auspicious Taoist ritual cup containing the elixir of immortality, a Taoist symbol of and a wish for a long and happy afterlife of immortality for the deceased. Sitting on a backless pedestal with rear indentions to facilitate carrying by hand, the front of this antique Chinese wood carving likely had an rectangular attachment with identifying information, likely the date, the figure’s name and the name of the donor who commissioned the piece. The flat bung in the back covering the cavity held the script and other items placed there during an eye-opening consecration ceremony and is integrated into the back of the carving with a  pigtail extending over it down the priest’s back. While Buddhist monks were tasked with looking after souls in the next life, Taoist priests protected followers against evil spirits. Their images on home altars were a wish to ward off malevolence and bad luck. Mounted on a modern, uniquely crafted white frosted Acrylic base, this small very fine statue will work seamlessly with any décor and was featured in a VA instagram post.

Additional information

Dimensions 12 × 9 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


19th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 9” W: 5” D: 3.5”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 22.86cm W: 12.7cm D: 8.89cm


1lb 5oz

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size