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 Museum Explorer

Gods and spirits in Asia

Shining gods of Daoism

Height: 49.500 cm

Asia OA 1929.1-14.1

Shining gods of Daoism

From: Zhejiang province, south-eastern China
Date: AD 1406 (Ming period)

Dao (or tao) means ‘way, path’. Daoists follow the teachings of Laozi (born 604 BC) including the key principles of looking after others and a respect for nature.

Many gods are worshipped in Daoism, and this shrine has been beautifully crafted to show some of them. Three ‘grottos’ are framed with clouds. In the lower grotto is ‘the God of the Eastern Peak’ with his attendants. The middle grotto holds the most important god, the Jade Emperor. Also here are the figures of Laozi himself, and the god Taiyi. In the top grotto a god rides a strange mythical beast. All the figures are covered in gold and varnished with lacquer to make them shine.