This collection represents approximately 15 years of acquiring and studying the ritual objects of the shaman priests of Vietnam, Laos, China and Thailand.

Artful Objects of Belief

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  • Staff for Yao Shaman Priest

    An important element in a collection of ritual objects, these 'San Yuan' staves are used by all Mien shaman priests in ceremonies, especially those of male initiation. When placed in front of the central door of the ritual venue, they ward off evil spirits. This is an old one with decorative, cut metal bands (some of which are broken) encircling the full length. Cryptic Chinese characters, painted, grace each side of the cube top, and a five inch carved finial caps the top (note that the finial has been repaired, but is fragile). The opposite end has an iron point for impaling it into the ground. We no longer find old ones with the metal decoration. (Please see Pourret, Jess G.; The Yao; The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, River Books 2002, p. 209)

    Size: 37 in. long x 1.15 in. wide at top

    $325.00

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  • Stamp for Yao Priest

    Called ‘Yen’, these chops, or stamps, are used to expedite messages sent to the gods using a special red ink. The carved figure represents ‘Pan Hu’, the dragon dog considered to be the Yao ancestor. Upon ordination, each priest is given his own ‘Yen’ stamp, which is destroyed when he dies. This stamp has a very stylized figure with teeth, hands and arms and even a tail. Stamps like these are used by all Yao, both inside and outside China. From the mid-late 20th century.

    Size: 1.7 in. x 2.0 in. x 2.35 in. h

    $85.00

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  • Stamp for Yao Priest

    Called ‘Yen’, these chops, or stamps, are used to expedite messages sent to the gods using a special red ink. The carved figure represents ‘Pan Hu’, the dragon dog considered to be the Yao ancestor. Upon ordination, each priest is given his own ‘Yen’ stamp, which is destroyed when he dies. This stamp has a stylized figure with a textured body; the underside has vestiges of the red ink. Stamps like these are used by all Yao, both inside and outside China.

    Size: 2.4 in. x 3.1 in. x 2.0 in. h

    $50.00

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