Qing Sculpture of the God of Wealth - PF.5158
Origin: China
Circa: 1644 AD to 1911 AD
Dimensions: 13" (33.0cm) high x 16.5" (41.9cm) wide
Collection: Chinese
Style: Qing Dynasty
Medium: Wood


A popular household god throughout the centuries, this deity has its origins in Taoism though iconographically it relates to the Buddhist Four Heavenly Kings. He is depicted seated on a stump with his right leg resting on a black tiger and his left foot stepping on the head of a dragon. The God of Wealth can appear in civil or military form. In this statue, he is shown in elaborate military armor decorated with animal mask motif and imperial insignia. Wearing a fantastic headdress with long circular protrusions that hang to his belt, this bearded deity strikes fear with his exaggerated facial expression and raised arm. In one hand, he holds either a gold ingot that express hope for future wealth or a vessel containing the elixir of life. Zai Shen, God of Wealth, is universally worshipped, especially by poor peasants and gamblers. He lived on earth as a hermit whose miraculous powers included the ability to ride on the black tiger shown here. He fought for Wu, founder of the Zhou dynasty against the last of the Shang. He was killed by sorcery, but was later immortalized as God of Riches. - (PF.5158)



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