DESCRIPTION: A large, museum quality, carved and lacquered Chinese sculpture of the Taoism deity Hsuan Tien Shang-ti, dating from the Ming Dynasty, c. 1500's. The Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heavens, Hsuan Tien Shang-ti is known by numerous titles within China; he is best known to foreigners and laymen as the Northern Emperor, Pei Ti (Cantonese Pak Tai) or Chen Wu.
Here he is carved in a seated posture, draped in a red lacquered robe with blue trim, his hands resting on his knees with fingers in a traditional Taoism pose. His waist is tied with a sash and his shoes turn upward. A large figure such as this would have been crafted for worship in a temple or for the family shrine of a scholar or Chinese official. The red lacquer on this figure is frequently seen in quality 16th and 17th century carvings.
HISTORY/PROVENANCE: We are told this was originally the property of a Chinese scholar and was passed down through the generations in a single family. During the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960's, when owning such works was forbidden, this sculpture was painted brown to hide its age. The former owner/collector from Taipei purchased it in Beijing over 25 years ago and had it professionally cleaned to expose its original red lacquered surface. CONDITION: The patina and aged surfaces support the date of 16th C. to 17th C. (1500's - 1600's). While there are superficial losses or cracks to the red lacquer in places, there is no major damage, deep cracks or loose portions; the non-lacquered wood on the base has some worm holes and minor age related rot. DIMENSIONS: 33" high without stand (83.8 cm) x 18" wide (45.7 cm). Price includes a two-part custom stand; height is 51" including stand (1.3 meters).