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God of Wealth

Chinese Polychrome Gilded Wood Buddha
God of Wealth
Tsai Shen
Circa: Late Ming-Earlt Qing, 17th-18th Century
H 11.5" (29cm.), W 5" (12.5cm.), D 3.5" (9cm.)
Condition: paint, gilt, weapon losses

The Star God of Affluence Tsai Sheng and his Black Tiger motif is one of the most recurring themes in Chinese folk art and sculpture. His shrines are practically worshipped in every home in China. As recorded in Chinese legend, he is considered to be the sage Pi Kan of the 12th century B.C., who reproved the evil conducts of emperor Chou Hsin of the last Shang dynasty (16th century-1050 B.C.), whereupon the emperor ordered the sage's heart cut out in order to prove if there were seven orifices, as commonly believed to be the case in the heart of great integrity.

With a powerful presence emanating from this small statue, this gilt and lacquered wood carving of the God of Wealth evidently has been used for home shrine worship for hundreds of years. Remaining in his left hand, the Star God is holding a gold piece; but the sword which once held in the raised right hand, and certain ritual offering embedded in the hallowed space in the back of the statue have since missing. Dispite its age, there are large portions of gilt remaining, and the lacquered wood carving is well preserved in excellent condition.

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