Posted 10 years ago
This beautifully hand carved wooden statue, circa late 19th or early 20th century, measures 8 inches in height and 2 1/2 inches in width.
HISTORY OF SHOU LOA
Shou Lao is the Chinese deity of longevity and is also called Shou Xing, Shou Hsing, and Nan Ji Xian Weng. Legend holds that Shou Lao began as a star in the southern constellation Argo, and he is sometime referred to as the Old Man of the South Pole. He is easily recognizable by his over sized forehead, representing wisdom, and his extra long beard, which is meant to literally demonstrate a long life. Shou Lao is always depicted holding a long staff and a peach, both symbols of longevity themselves, and said to come from Xi Wangmu's magical peach garden found in Heaven. Xi Wangmu is also called Yin and is the personification of femininity and the Chi energy of the same name. The peach trees in her garden only bloom every 3,000 years. The longevity god carries the peach of immortality as an offering, showing that long life may be bestowed upon those who pay their respects to Shou Lao. That is why his likeness can be found in many Chinese homes displayed prominently in an alter or a central location. Shou Lao himself is said to have gained immortality by having shown proper respect to the gods of birth and death in a chance encounter.