Deities & Legends

Showing 1–12 of 41 results

  • Ancient Figurine of Woman with Child, Roman Empire, Alexandria


    This Roman Egyptian figurine from Alexandria of a woman holding a young child is a Kourotrophos, a class of god and goddess figures holding infants or children. Referred to as child nurturers, these were revered deities, cult figures and mortals who were fertility symbols and protectors of the young.


  • Antique Attendant Sword Bearer to Guandi, God of War, China


    This rare fine woodcarving represents Chou Ts’ang, the aide-de-camp to Guandi, the most revered military hero in Chinese history. Portrayed with black skin tones, he has an intense expression highlighted by inset glass eyes and wears a military uniform with raised beads bordering his topcoat tied above his waist, a belt below his stomach, and heavy black military boots and hat. The sword he originally held is now missing.  His plain round pedestal has an indentation in the middle, possibly to affix the figure to a larger configuration.


  • Antique Attendant to Guandi, Taoist God of War, China


    This fine woodcarving is Chou Ts’ang (Chou-Tsang), the aide-de-camp and attendant to Guandi, the most revered and well-known military hero in Chinese history and the Taoist God of War.  As an attendant his hands held together paying respect in anjali mudra while facing Guandi. He is normally placed to Guandi’s left with eyes downcast in respect to the general and either his left foot forward ready to spring into action or his legs firmly planted on the ground. His protective military clothing, maille, and heavy boots are presented in detail and the high rectangular red and black pedestal with painted gold florals makes him a key figure even though the figure of Guandi he attends would have been significantly larger and important. With expected minor chips, cracks, wear and paint losses, it is in very good condition although hanging material is missing from left sleeve.

  • Antique Earth God Tudi Gong, China


    This vibrant and finely carved wood statue with much pigment and lacquer is the old good-natured Earth God Tudi Gong once found in most rural communities throughout China. He is a kind and benevolent god as seen by his good natured features, believed to live in and help residents of small villages, especially for issues relating to agriculture or wealth.   As an administrator he sits on a horseshoe chair wearing officials clothes and carries a tael, a gold bar that symbolizes a wish for wealth. With his sweet and unpretentious demeanor, he looks like someone you just like to hang out with. Once in every village and most homes, these charming images have like all Taoist deity images become scarce.



  • Antique Elegant Queen Mother of the West, China


    This exquisite and finely carved piece is the Taoist Queen Mother of the West sitting elegantly on a backless throne set on a hexagonal pedestal. She is a mature woman with full cheeks, an intense stare, heavy-lidded eyes, and a small but resolute chin. Her hair – pulled back above her pendulous ears, a sign of wisdom and her deified status – is up in a chignon under her headdress with a large finely carved seated phoenix. She wears a high-necked garment with graceful fully-flared robes with her hands together under a finely carved ritual cloth with an indention to hold a missing object, probably a staff. The image is triangular and culminates in the elaborately carved headdress which adds stability and strength to the image . Carved from dense wood with polychrome, gilt, and lacquer on the front side, it is in excellent condition with a crack on the back,  most of the polychrome pigmentation and lacquer intact, minor insect holes now stabilized, and some losses consistent with age and use, none of which compromises its integrity.


  • Antique Heavenly Empress Mazu, Protector of the Sea, China


    This vibrant image represents the “Heavenly Empress” Mazu wearing a vibrant, red-tiered outer robe topped with a black scalloped collar bordered with gold carved in graceful folds. Mazu is often dressed in red so travelers at sea can easily spot her if they need assistance. 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. This piece is wonderfully carved and is in excellent condition with exception of a few lacquer losses on her face and dress. She originally sat on a detached throne that is now replaced by a lucite base.

  • Antique Home Altar Mazu, Protector of the Sea, China


    This home devotional image, finely carved in the front and back, represents Mazu, the most revered Taoist female deity in coastal towns throughout mainland China, Taiwan and Vietnam. She sits in a traditional Taoist deity pose with her hands held before her covered by a ritual cloth with a space to hold a now missing hu tablet seated on a plain armless high back chair. She is a provincial matronly figure, eyes cast down in serene calmness, in humble attire with characteristically small feet, a red sash down the front of her robe, and a modest hat with a flat phoenix. The piece was originally covered with gilt, red polychrome, and lacquer on front and back,  which has been dulled from incense and candle smoke.  It is in very good condition with expected losses and cracks and larger cracks in the rear.


  • Antique Home Altar Queen Mother of the West, China


    Finely carved from a dense hardwood, this the Queen Mother of the West image sits in a traditional pose on a backless throne with a large iconic phoenix on her hat and wearing in a graceful robe with two fingers of her right-hand holding a long sleeve that covers her left hand – common in Taoist deity images. It was brightly painted as seen by her red garments under a lacquered cover that naturally darkened over time from  incense and candle offerings.  Her carved facial features, including full cheeks and pursed lips depict a solemn authoritative matronly figure.


  • Antique Imperial Mazu, Empress of Heaven, China


    This colorful large image represents Matsu as the Empress of Heaven in elaborate robes covering her front and back with gilt appliqué and rich and intense hues of red, blue, green and yellow applied on an original white background which allows those at sea in need of her assistance to see her. Raised curvilinear designs of strands made from incense ash highlight her robe that has two blue beads on the bottom of her sash and five inset mirrors – three across her chest and two inside flowers on her sleeves. A gilt headdress with raised threads inset with 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. Otherwise, this very powerful statue is in very good condition with normal scrapes and paint losses.


  • Antique Kitchen God and His Wife


    This pair of the Kitchen God and his wife are mirror-images on backless chairs with multi-sided pedestals wearing simplified officials robes. Both are finely carved, clasp hands at their chests covered in ritual cloth to symbolize holding a  hu tablet, and reflect reverence and solemnity for deities who hold the future of multiple generations in their hands. They  were covered in red, the color of fu, and lacquer which has darkened naturally over time and from exposure to candle and incense smoke. These images are in very good shape and were consecrated.

  • Antique Kitchen God and His Wife, China


    This extremely fine quality pair of the Kitchen God and his Wife are carved on a single base which is somewhat unusual. Unlike our the other pairs, these figures closely resemble but do not mirror each other. The intricately detailed and different hats are those of very high officials as are their well carved and elaborate officials’ robes. His serene expressive face seems to have an uncharacteristic smile and is highlighted with facial hairs. Their hands are hidden under a curved ritual cloth and hold pointed hu tablets. These charming figures with a smooth warm patina are in excellent condition.



  • Antique Mazu, Empress of Heaven, China


    This Mazu is portrayed as the imperially sanctioned “Empress of Heaven” seated on a dragon throne, hands clasped symbolically holding a hu. She wears elegant robes, an official’s girdle and a flat-topped imperial headdress, dragon designs on her robes and chair.The remaining polychrome reflects the original red, green, and blue laced with raised gilt highlights, now darkened by years of incense and candle smoke. Her characteristically small feet rest on a pair of gilt fu lions. Meant to be seen from all sides it is decorated on front and back and is in excellent condition although the front of her hat was broken and reattached and it has expected minor scratches and losses.

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