19th century carving is a fanciful glorification of His Excellency the Monkey
God in resplendent warrior armor meticulously ornamented with delicate floral
and cloud motifs. With dignified formality he assumes an advancing stance, his
left foot poised on a cloud, left hand holding a longevity peach; and right hand
his signiture attribute a golden staff. The statue wears its gilding lacily over
a black lacquer ground. No chips or losses of wood.
status of the monkey in Buddhism is not unequivocal, for although he may be thought
ugly and deceitful, nevertheless he is worshipped popularly for his power to drive
away evil and sorcery and to bestow health, protection and success. The monkey
was worshipped first in India, where an emissary of a Tang Dynasty Emperor had
been dispatched to obtain the Sacred Books of the Buddhist religion. In this quest
he was aided by a monkey and in gratitude the emperor bestowed upon the monkey
the title of “Great Sage Equal to Heaven.” and “His Excellency, the Holy King,“
whose birthday is celebrated by all classes of society on the 23rd day of the
second Chinese month.