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Doumu, goddess of the North Star mid-17th century

White porcelain | 24.0 x 14.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 1096

King's Little Bedchamber, Hampton Court Palace

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  • A Chinese white porcelain (blanc de Chine) figure of Doumu, goddess of the North Star. The model is attached to an oval base slotting into a stem rising from a hollow oval mound base, on which stand on either side small figures of two acoltyes holding gui, and two scaly dragons rising from waves. The deity has a composed expression and wears a crown with a figure of Amitabha Buddha in relief, her long locks parted in two strands that fall in ringlets to the shoulders; her full-length robes cover her folded legs. Projecting from the body are a further eight pairs of arms, each clasping one of her attributes.

    Doumu (literally, ‘Mother of the Big Dipper’), also known as Doulao, is a Daoist Female deity associated with beidou qixing (‘Seven Stars of the Northern Dipper’), which is the eighth of the 28 Chinese constellations. As with the English name, the Chinese character dou (dipper) refers to the shape of the group of stars, which appear in the form of a water dipper or ladle. Doumu, as ‘mother' of this group of stars, is traditionally said to have given birth to them. Doumi also appears in Buddhist iconography as Marici, a deity associated with the dawn.

    Text adapted from Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen: Volume I.
  • Creator(s)
  • Medium and techniques

    White porcelain


    24.0 x 14.0 cm (whole object)