Stove God and Wife with Calendar

Accession Number

Stove God and Wife with Calendar


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
color woodblock print on paper

13 3/4 in x 10 1/2 in (35 cm x 26.7 cm);14 9/16 in x 11 7/16 in (37 cm x 29 cm);13 3/4 in x 10 1/2 in (35 cm x 26.7 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Willard A. and Marybelle B. Hanna

Subject matter
Stove God prints like this one were responsible for watching over the family and reporting their progress to the Jade Emperor, a powerful Daoist deity. As such, they were hung in shrines above the kitchen stove where the god, often accompanied by his wife, could closely observe the family.
Each year a new print with a calendar specific to that year was purchased, and burnt at year-end in order to send the god back to heaven and the Jade Emperor for his annual report. Just before burning the print, special food would be placed in front of the deity, and his mouth smeared with honey or sugar in order to ensure he left the home with a sweet taste in his mouth.

Physical Description
This print is typical, depicting the Stove God and his wife with halos and elegant clothing. Before them is a table with common worship instruments, including candles, an incense burner, and flowers. Standing in the bottom corners are two officials, and between them a container of jewels. The jewels are flanked by a dog and rooster; animals thought to be symbols of domesticity with auspicious connotations. Above the scene a calendar for the year 1949 is framed by an auspicious dragon motif.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
color print

Collection Area

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flowers (plant components)
gods (dieties)
incense burners

5 Related Resources

Food Cultures
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Daoism / Taoism
(Part of: Religion and Spirituality)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted