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The Kitchen God


Not on view

In China an image of the Kitchen God is pasted above stoves to observe all activities in the house. At the New Year the image is burned, and the god returns to heaven to report to the Jade Emperor, who rules the universe. His testimony would determine the family’s fortunes in the coming year.

In this print the haloed Kitchen God and his wife sit formally behind an altar. They are flanked by two youths holding jars marked “good” and “evil,” into which they will cast counters for each good and evil deed carried out during the year. The inscribed couplet reads:

Ascend to Heaven and report nice things;
Return to your palace and bestow good luck.

The Kitchen God, Woodblock print; ink and color on paper with additional hand coloring, China

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