Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Small Votive Image Representing Laozi Seated at a Curved, Three-Legged Writing Desk, with Attached Flaming Halo and Stand
Work Type
sculpture, figurine
dated to 602
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Sui dynasty, 581-618
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Cast bronze; with inscription on three sides of the stand dating to 602
H. 10 x W. 3.3 x D. 3.2 cm (3 15/16 x 1 5/16 x 1 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: The inscription may be transcribed as: Renshou ernian suizi renxu eryue jiyou shuo eryue bari XX daomin Yan Huiluo wei nu zao Tianjun yiqu qishi fumu jusheng fumu jufa Tiandao [Note: the two chracters indicated by "XX" are unclear; they may refer to Yan Huiluo's birthplace.]
    The inscription may be translated as: On the eighth day, second month, second year, of the Renshou era [i.e., AD 601-604; of the Sui-dynasty Emperor Wendi (r.590-604)], XX Daoist Yan Huiluo made this image of the Celestial Worthy for his daughter, for seven generations of fathers and mothers, and for the father and mother who gave birth to him. May they all manifest the Heavenly Way.
    Note: Inscription is not inlaid, but in order to make the inscription stand out during photography at Sotheby's a white substance (talcum powder?) was inserted.
Shao F. Wang purchased from Sotheby's, New York
Ex-coll: Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, New York
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Shao F. Wang in honor of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at