Antique/Vintage Carved House Deity, China (7507QOK) $295


H: 12.7”  W: 3.375”  D: 3”| FREE SHIPPING!

Images like this were commissioned by families to honor departed ancestors, and this family seems to have requested an amplified tribute by posing him with characteristics of Guandi, the god of war, or maybe it is Guandi very liberally depicted by a provincial artist. He sits on a high backless chair, hands on knees, one holding a small tael and the other poised to hold a sword, wearing military maille at the chest and knees, also used in depictions of Guandi. The calligraphy on the base is the name Wu (last) Fa Tian (first), the ancestor to whom the statue was dedicated.


While major deities such as Guandi were officially sanctioned by government and religious authorities, many popular deities and historic figures were integrated into Popular Religion beliefs where they were assimilated and greatly modified with local traditions and iconographic depictions such as this. We assume this is Guandi, one of the most revered Chinese deities based on what he is holding – a tael or a seal like the “three mountain seal” characteristic of Guandi – and his military garb. Provincial carvers created their own syncretic versions of deified figures by blending  characteristics from several gods into a single figure. This ancestral carving would have been placed on a home altar with other Taoist, Buddhist, and Chinese Popular Religion deities and ancestor figures as part of ancestor worship and to honor one’s departed members, practice familial piety, and request blessings for the family. The diversity of deities and ancestors dressed as officials, priests, warriors, and revered ancestors was very large, and, since many gods were local and confined to particular locations, identifying them is problematic when found out of context, without specific identifying iconographical features. As most home altar figures, this carving was  consecrated but atypically has two cavities: the upper cavity sealed with a bung, while the lower open with a pitched top, and seems to be shaped like a temple which is unusual. The figure is in excellent condition with a small loss to the border of his hat.

Click here for Eye-Opening Consecration Ceremony Blog.

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 9 × 6 in
Place of Origin



Antique/Vintage (1910-1980)



Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 12.75” W: 3.375” D: 3”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 32.38cm W: 8.57cm D: 7.62cm


1lb 11oz


Excellent, See Descripton

Item Number


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