Mazu

Mazu (Matsu), the most worshiped Taoist female deity, has many names. Her name Mazu is comprised of the characters mā (媽), meaning “mother,” and zǔ (祖) meaning “ancestor,” in Taoism, she is Tian Shang Sheng Mu (天上聖母), or “heavenly goddess.”meaning mother, and in Southern China Southern regions of China, Mazu is affectionately called Ā-mā (阿媽), translating as  “grandmother” or “mother.” Mazu has been one of the most popular Chinese goddesses and a significant Taoist deity in southeastern coastal China since her birth in the early Song dynasty. Her appearance, demeanor and legends of her life vary greatly, based on whether they are from oral folk legends or written official imperial accounts. As a popular syncretic deity, she has a huge cult following among Taoist, Buddhist and Popular Religion devotees who view her a kindhearted humble Buddhist with shamanistic beginnings who protects those associated with the sea – sailors, fisherman and merchants and those living near the sea. Two hundred years after her death at age 28 in recognition of her filial piety and her aid to state officials, the imperial bureaucracy in accordance with Confusion precepts bestowed on her honorific titles and raised her status in the celestial hierarchy. During the Yuan Dynasty, she was designated Protector of the Empire and the Brilliantly Outstanding Heavenly Queen and in the early Qing Dynasty was made the “Holy Mother of Heaven” and later “Heavenly Empress” and many imperially sanctioned and provincial temples were built in all coastal provinces and along navigable rivers throughout China and in Taiwan. Her remarkable rise from peasant to imperially sanctioned goddesses was not uncommon since many ordinary men and women were elevated to deities in late Imperial China in the 18th through 19th centuries. According to Lee Irvin, three Great Chinese Goddesses – Guanyin, the Queen Mother of the West and Mazu – were all imperially sanctioned, and each epitomized the feminine role of compassionate protectors who grant health, long life and safety to all devotees regardless of their rank or status. In provincial images Mazu is a plain matronly figure with simple unadorned robes and a flat hat, sometimes with a phoenix, seated on a backless chair. As the Empress of Heaven, she is portrayed seated on an ornate dragon throne in a long flowing robe with an official’s girdle at her waist and an imperial headdress with tassels or a simple ceremonial bonnet, holding an official tablet or scepter. Cults associated with the Empress of Heaven are strongest in Southern China in Fujian and Guangdong, Hong Kong, Taiwan, many Southeast Asian Chinese communities and Vietnam. Los Angeles has a large and impressing Thien Hou Temple open to all.

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  • Antique Carved Mazu, Protector of the Sea, China (19415PRO) $275

    $275.00
    H: 5.5”  W: 3.375  D: 3” | FREE SHIPPING

    This antique figurine is a matronly version of Mazu, Empress of Heaven in a horseshoe chair with gold earrings, hat topped with a phoenix and dressed in robes with a scalloped cloud collar. She is said to have lived in the 10th century only 28 years with a pure spirit and compassion for those in need throughout the world. With supernatural powers she performed miracles, subdued evil spirits and protected those at sea. After her death, she became a deity and is still widely prayed to as a Chinese deity.

  • Antique Heavenly Empress Mazu, China (5677JACK) $1450

    $1,450.00
    H: 21”  W: 11.5”  D: 8” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

    This vibrant image represents the “Heavenly Empress” Mazu wearing a red-tiered outer robe topped with a black scalloped collar bordered with gold and carved in graceful folds. Three ornamental flowers painted on her stomach might reflect the Popular Religion myth that when Mazu’s mother was pregnant, she prayed for a daughter as she already had six sons. In a dream Guanyin gave her a flower blossom to wear, and the next day Mazu was born.

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

    $425.00
    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 Imperial Mazu, Empress of Heaven, China (16348XSKE) $3250

    $3,250.00
    H: 31.5”  W: 16..5”  D: 10.5” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

    This colorful large image represents Matsu as the Empress of Heaven in elaborate robes covering her front and back with gilt appliqué, raised curvilinear designs, glass and mirror insets  and intense hues of red, blue, green and yellow to allows those at sea in need of her assistance to see her.  A gilt headdress with raised threads and a mirror and topped by a phoenix sits on her intricate hair strands.  Originally on a chair or throne and made to be seen in the round, it now has a wood slat to stabilize it.

     

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

    $1,050.00
    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 Polychrome Mazu “Holy Mother in Heaven,” China (3429AEM) $1400

    $1,450.00
    H: 19.25″  W: 10″  D: 8.75″ | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

    Seated imperiously on a horseshoe chair with legs on a turquoise embossed pedestal on a base with carved  characters of her title “Holy Mother in Heaven,” this majestic Mazu is depicted in the imperial style, wearing a regal flat topped headdress and elaborate robes with dragons and an officials girdle at the waist highlighted in red and covered with gilt. This wonderful carving is in excellent condition after years of use.

     

     

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