Hu Tablet

Hu tablets, commonly referred to as audience tablets, (baohu) precious tablet were narrow carved and sometimes curved wood strips held by high Chinese court officials that became a sign of their official status. During the Han dynasty, they were required for formal dress worn as girdle pendants, and during the Tang they were ivory tablets used as a scepter and writing surface for memoranda in formal presentations to higher court officials to take notes of the emperor’s instructions held at chest level as they bowed to him. They continued to be a sign of high rank until the end of the Ming dynasty, but the tradition of symbolically portraying officials with hu tablets persisted through the Qing dynasty. In Taoism they were based on the ones at court but were religious objects held by priests used for ritual audiences with Taoist deities during ceremonies and rituals. On home altars Taoism priest images held them with both hands in front of them often with a cloth over the hands symbolizing they were in the presence of a Taoist deity.

Showing 1–12 of 14 results

  • Antique Agricultural Deity and Spring Ox, China (16337LKE) $885

    H: 14.25”  W: 7.125”  D: 4.875” | CALL 213-568-3030 FOR SHIPPING

    To pay homage and respect to one’s ancestors, Chinese rural families commissioned images to honor and protect family members, and in some instances, their domestic and farm animals as seen in this exceptional, fine and rare carving.  Intricately carved from one piece of wood, it depicts a Taoist official holding a hu tablet on top above  the “Spring Ox” accompanied by the “Herd Box”, who together perform an ancient agricultural rituals at the end of each winter to wake the earth up so that spring can arrive.


  • Antique Carved Wood Taoist Priest, China (16157ERK) $350

    H: 9.25”  W: 4.5”  D: 3.25” | FREE SHIPPING

    This well carved image probably is a Taoist official that was placed on a home altar along with other religious and ancestral carvings to summon good wishes and energy and ward off malevolent forces. His high status and importance as a Taoist official are affirmed by his static pose, solemn face, official’s robes and refined hat and the red and gilt pigmentation covering the front and back.

  • Antique Female Taoist Priest with Hu Tablet, China (19154BLE) $495

    H: 12”  W: 4.235”  D: 2.25” | FREE SHIPPING

    This charming female figure with a sweet smiling face is a female Taoist priest wearing plain priest’s robe and an unusual headdress centered with a phoenix, the Chinese “king of birds” holding a ceremonial Hu tablet often carried by Taoists priests to indicate their power and status and their presence before a Taoist deity. Although there are few carved images of female Taoist priests, from its inception Taoism was very compatible with feminine characteristics and ordained them as priests.


  • Antique Home Altar Mazu, Protector of the Sea, China (19013ZRK) $425

    H: 9”  W: 6.525”  D: 2.5 | FREE SHIPPING

    This home devotional image, finely carved in the front and back, represents Mazu, the most revered Taoist female deity in coastal areas in mainland China, Taiwan and Vietnam. She sits in a traditional Taoist deity pose, hands covered by a ritual cloth with a space to hold a hu tablet on a plain armless high back chair. She is a provincial matronly figure, eyes calmly cast down, in humble attire with characteristically small feet, a hanging red, and a modest hat with a flat phoenix.

  • Antique Kitchen God and His Wife (16850D-BME) $695

    H: 7.25″  W: 3″  D: 1.625″ | FREE SHIPPING!

    This Kitchen God and his wife are mirror-images, originally placed above the stove to monitor and bring good luck to the household. Finely carved, they wearing simplified officials robes and symbolically hold a tablet. Their bright colors have faded naturally into a smooth warm patina which adds comfort and positive feng sui to any kitchen decor and are unique wedding gifts.

  • Antique Kitchen God and His Wife, China (16840BME) $850

    H: 7.5″  W: 2.875″  D: 2″ | FREE SHIPPING!

    This pair is VA’s most unique and finely crafted Kitchen God couple. Wearing beautifully carved robes, clasping Hu tablets, they have    approachable features and subtly smiling lips. The painted character on the base is a wish for “happiness.”  These exceptional consecrated pieces are in excellent condition with a fine patina.


  • Antique Kitchen God and his Wife, China (16850E-BME) $695

    H: 7.75″  W: 2.875″  D: 1.875″ | FREE SHIPPING!

    This Kitchen God and His Wife are well-carved, articulated, well presented. As mirror images sitting on backless chairs on a high plinth, they have similar layered gold officials’ robes  and very different headdresses. Their clasped hands covered in ritual cloth symbolizes holding a hu tablet, they portray the reverence and solemnity associated with house gods whose future of families are in their hands. Antique Kitchen gods are unique and wonderful house or wedding gifts as they add warmth to positive chi to any decor.


  • Antique Kitchen God and His Wife, China (16850H-BME) $785

    H: 7.75″  W: 3.25″  D: 2.375″ | free shipping!

    Finely detailed and carved from dense wood, this Kitchen God and his Wife monitor the members of the home from their perch above the stove. Near mirror images of each other they wear layered gold officials’ robes with decorative sashes and symbolically hold a hu tablet. They are in excellent condition with most of the original pigmentation and gilt and make unique wedding gifts..


  • Antique Kitchen God and His Wife, China (19028LAK) $995

    H: 10”  W: 7.75”  D: 8.25” | FREE SHIPPING

    This single statue portrays the Kitchen God and his Wife on one stand which is rare and indicates their close and lasting relationship as the protectors of the home and family. The Kitchen God and his wife were placed above the stove, a central part of the household to view and report about the morality of the family members to the Jade emperor at Chinese New Year and ahve their fate determined for the coming year. His serene face has an uncharacteristic smile  Their bright colors have faded naturally into a smooth warm patina which adds comfort and positive feng sui to any kitchen decor.



  • Antique Mazu, Empress of Heaven, China (6003A-BCK) $1050

    H: 15.375”  W: 8.625”  D: 7.5” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

    This Mazu, the protector of sea farers, is portrayed as the imperially sanctioned “Empress of Heaven” seated on an elaborate horseshoe shaped dragon throne, hands clasped symbolically holding a hu tablet, adorned with elegant dragon robes, an official’s girdle, a flat-topped Empress headdress and small feet resting on a pair of gilt fu lions. Meant to be seen from all sides this beautiful carving is decorated on front and back.

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  • Antique Official in Red Robes with a Hu Tablet, China (16851BOK)

    H: 15.5:  W: 6.125″  D: 4.125″ | free shipping!

    This fine ancestor figure portrayed as a Chinese official with many indications of his high status. He sits on a backless chair upon a high decorative pedestal upon which his feet rest and . He wears officials attire: a futou cap and high collared red robe with double belt extending to his shoes. He sits in a formal pose with hands on his thighs holding a long slender  hu tablet. His facial hairs indicate a mustache and beard, now partially lost, on his gilt colored face.


  • Antique Official with Hu Tablet, China (14001ZSK) $395

    H: 14.25”  W: 5.5”  D: 4” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This unique and dense antique/vintage carving may represent the noted historical figure:  the principal regent Dorgon  of the first Qing Emperor Shunzhi who ruled from 1643-1650 as a”quasi” emperor based  on the four-character inscription that reads “Southern Holy Emperor.” He is presented wearing an impressive and detailed hat and coat holding a hu tablet characteristic of one standing before an emperor.


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