The Kitchen God

Chinese (Chinese)
Circa 1930
Woodblock print, color
Sheet : 14 3/8 x 10 1/2 in. (36.51 x 26.67 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
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According to Chinese legend, the Kitchen God oversees the activities and behaviors of every household and reports on them to the Jade Emperor in heaven at the end of each lunar year. The deity then returns to earth on the fifth day of the lunar new year, when he is welcomed by families with offerings of food and incense and asked to provide protection and blessings in the year ahead. Printed images of the Kitchen God were traditionally displayed on the interior walls of Chinese houses during the Spring Festival, sometime only for the duration of the holiday and sometimes for the entire year. This Kitchen God print has a blank space above the deity that could have been filled in with a written inscription personalizing it for use by a specific family in a specific year.

Object Type