Offerings

Making offerings to deceased family members to show devotion and honor them or to revere gods, sprits or holy beings is part of most Asian religious traditions. In Theravada Buddhism, Burmese families bring food offerings to temples and monasteries in vessels called hsun oks to feed monks, make merit and enhance their karma and in Thailand flowers, incense and candles are common offerings made to Buddhist monks, Buddha images and people of higher rank to show respect.

In Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism, offerings are a way to communicate with and venerate gods and ancestors in temples or home altars, bring reciprocal blessings to the bearers and strengthen family ties. This may include offerings of fruit, vegetables, sweets, tea and flowers. Offerings may be represented in many ways: physically or symbolically on home and temple altars; as a single or pair of attendant statues holding offerings or as auspicious and symbolic images or decorative motifs placed on furniture, architecture, carved images, vessels, textiles or woodblock prints. For instance, a 3-item offering of dumplings on a plate is a pictorial pun for gold or silver coins symbolizing wealth and, also, a wish to pass the 3 civil levels of examinations guaranteeing a comfortable life as a civilian official. Offerings are made to the Kitchen God during the New Year to usher in health and prosperity. Traditionally, women made the offerings and men presented them on home altars or shrines to fulfill their family’s wishes.

Prasada is the word for food and water offered to deities during a daily puja ceremony in Hinduism. Five types of offerings – pushpa (flowers), dhupa (incense), deepa (light), naivedya (food) and gandha (sandalwood paste) – are made to symbolize the five elements – space, air, fire, water and earth. Offerings of fruit and flowers are also made at Hindu temples.

In Bali, trained dancers are considered messengers and direct communicators with the gods and make offerings before their performances for blessings and for acceptance of their offerings. Both the mask and dance are considered as having great power and are considered a symbolic spiritual offering to the gods.

Showing 1–12 of 37 results

  • Ancient Han Dynasty Pottery Pig, China (2029BKE) $395

    $395.00
    H: 2.5”  W: 4.5”  D: 2.375” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This glazed pig mingqi was one of many items made for a tomb to placate the spirit of the deceased and assure the soul’s access to the things enjoyed when alive. This animal mingqi confirms the importance of pigs as a food source and of raising livestock in Han China. An alert animal whose stocky body is typical, it’s dark lead green glaze and damp tomb created a chemical reaction over centuries making it a lustrous, iridescent green impossible to copy that is highly valued in China and by collectors. In very good condition, it has expected glaze losses, minor abrasions and cracks due to its age and long tomb burial.

  • Antique Attendant with Celestial Scarf, China (16726HKE) $2450

    $2,450.00
    H: 25”  W: 7.5”  D: 6” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

    This lovely carving of a beautiful young woman represents an attendant that would have been housed on a home altar or shrine to accompany an enlightened Buddhist or Taoist figure at whom she modestly gazes.  Her hands, covered by a draped ritual cloth, hold offerings and the swirling ribbon implying her power, weightlessness or being in the heavens. This truly elegant and forceful statue with winding ribbons reflect the auspicious phrase  “May longevity bring blessings.” Its lustrous patina attained over centuries adds to its depth, softness and grace which enhance the energy in any space it occupies. 

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  • Antique Attendant with Offering, China (16424A-BLE) $435

    $435.00
    H: 15.5″. W: 5.5″. D: 4.24″  | FREE SHIPPING!

    This well-carved figure represents an attendant that would have been on a home altar to accompany a Taoist figure. Standing on a tall pedestal with a slight smile and downcast eyes, he reaches across his chest to present a rounded box secured with a ribbon. He wears an official’s hat and boots, open waistcoat over an undergarment secured at the waist. The pointed inner panel of his lower garment has slightly flaring panels with incised carved decorations.  He is in very good condition with remains of the original lacquer and gilt which have naturally darkened from age and. from years of incense, age and use.

  • Antique Brass Vishnu Oil Lamp (Diya), India (9571B-PAH) $165

    $165.00
    Ht: 3.75”  W: 3”  D: 3.5” | FREE SHIPPING

    This heavy antique brass oil lamp is devoted to Vishnu with symbols for him and his consort Lakshmi who together are the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies of a blessed Hindu marriage. Used on a home or temple altar for daily prayers (puja), it has with a yoni shaped cup to store oil, a lotus top and a mark of Vishnu that his devotees wear on their forehead to indicate their spiritual affiliation.

     

  • Antique Carving of Auspicious Fruit Offering, China (19304UAK) $195

    $195.00
    H: 4.75″  W: 3.675″  D: 3.675″

    This offering plate with a stack of five propitious fruits was probably affixed to one of the bed posts for a couple as a wish for male children and longevity. The plate sits on a base draped with a stylized ritual cloth and embellished with carved leaves and holds a pomegranate on top to symbolize fertility and the four peaches below are symbols of longevity.

  • Antique Female Attendant with Offerings, China (19035BKE) $595

    $595.00
    H: 14”  W: 6.25  D: 3.5” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This delicately carved seated female attendant probably accompanied a religious image on a home altar. She holds an offering plate with three offerings of dumplings or pieces of fruit, possibly a peach trio, Chinese longevity symbols. A three-item offering is a pun for a group of three ancient coins known as tael a symbol of wealth and a wish for high status.

     

  • Antique Guanyin in Royal Ease (Lalitsana), China, (16910BOE) $515

    $515.00
    Ht: 10.75″  W: 5.5″  D: 4.5″ | FREE SHIPPING

    This dark wood carving is a Guanyin manifestation called “white hooded,”  “white clad” or “white robed” Guanyin derived from the many paintings where she is clad in white. Although wood carvings usually portray her clothed in red, this finely carved version of her is covered in a thick lacquer coat that darkens naturally over time and darkens even more when honored on a home altar with daily prayers and offerings that include smoky candles and burning incense.

  • Antique Majapahit Miniature Terracotta Head, Indonesia (1138EHA) $195

    $195.00
    Ht: 4”  W: 1.5”  D: 1.75” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This terracotta head was crafted during the Majapahit Empire in Java and was either part of a Hindu bas-relief frieze or made as a freestanding figurine. Most figures found are small decapitated heads with no bodies, and it is very rare to find a complete figure with a naturalistic facial expression. As with many heads, this one displays Javanese facial features, hairstyles and ear ornamentation typical of the period. It has a naturalistic facial expression and wears large round coiled earrings, possibly suggesting it represented someone of the upper classes. It is in very good condition given its age and use and is mounted on a metal stand. This items pairs with Majapahit Terracotta Head 1137.

     

     

  • Antique Nuo Opera Female Mask, China (19220WRK) $395

    $395.00

    H: 9.25”  W: 5.75”  D: 2.25” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This antique-Chinese-wood-carving is a hand-carved Nuo Opera mask from Southern China of a smiling woman with a slender face, delicate features and hair in a topknot. She is a zhengshen, a friendly female deity (shen) with a kind, honest nature and a gentle disposition and a symbol of the power of good capable of defeating evil. Most Nuo masks are brightly painted, but the age and heavy use of this one has resulted in paint losses. Different colored bases under the reddish-brown indicate it was repainted and reused a number of times. The bright red lips have faded and areas around the eyes, mouth, nose and hair reveal what may be an original first layer of white gesso. Mask enthusiasts will appreciate the resulting paint and lacquer layers which tell the story of this mask’s colorful history, and, yes, the pun is intended. In very good condition for its age and use and for its journey surviving China’s modernization, masks like these were initially considered ethnic folk-art offerings to the gods and part of the VA Deities-and-Legends collection.

  • Antique Ox Cart with Chinthe Lion, Burma/Myanmar (11306FSE) $325

    $325.00
    H: 14.5”  W: 17.75”  D: 3.375” | FREE SHIPPING!

    Finely carved figures were attached to ox cart yokes to protect farmers from malevolent spirits who inhabited all seen and unseen sectors of their environment. This beautifully carved ox cart yolk was created in the image of a chinthe, (the word for lion) a mythical creature commonly represented in Burma to decorate a multiplicity of everyday items. Considered a propitious spiritual and protective guardian figure, the chinthe symbolizes power, courage, and strength. This carving displays the common characteristics of singhas with a long face with large eyes, a long sharp nose, a long draping lion-like beard, and a flame-like shape on the top of his head. He stands on all four legs holding his beard that extends from his open roaring mouth with sharply pointed teeth that combine elegance with strong beast-like strength. He is masterfully carved with careful attention to details like the deeply incised hairs that cover his body. For functional reasons, the piece is in two parts held together with a wooden plug. Even though it was for daily use, Burmese craftsmen created beautiful objects and finished them with the best materials they could afford. This piece was originally covered with lacquer, most of which has faded with use over time.  It is in good condition with losses to his left side, fading surface, and wear consistent with its age and use.

  • Antique Pair Glazed Stoneware Candle Holders, Shiwan, China(16901CH-CEM ) $785/pr

    $785.00
    H: 13.25″    W: 4.75 ”    D: 4.75 ”    | FREE SHIPPING!

    This pair of beautiful antique apple green gazed stoneware Shiwan candle holders are part of a 5-piece antique home altar set. Made with rounded, elegant soft corners and having intricate designs in relief against a smooth background, this strickng and graceful pair complements the overal altar presentation while creating its own appealing well-proportioned silhouette.

     

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  • Antique Pair Glazed Stoneware Vases, Shiwan, China (16901V-CEM) $825/Pair

    $825.00
    H: 11.75″    W: 4.75 ”    D: 4.75 ”    | FREE SHIPPING!

    Made with rounded, elegant, soft corners and having intricate designs in relief against a smooth background, this striking and graceful pair of vases will complement the overall presentation of any home and they create an appealing, well-proportioned silhouette. A vase, actual or as an image, is commonly seen in Chinese homes as a symbol of peace and safety and the fulfillment of all of one’s wishes. Vase pairs can also used as part of a 5pc altar set when their decorative and/or structural designs are in sinc with the other components.

     

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