Seven figures of Daoist deities, all from the same set and formerly in the Morgan family collection were sold after Louise C. Morgan's death in 1974 at the family home 'Salutation' West Island, Glen Cove, Long Island New York by Sotheby's on 26th, 27th and 28th May, lots 76, 77, 78, 124, 125, 126 and 127. The present figure, lot 125, is the only in the group given a full page color illustration. Four figures of this group have been subsequently reoffered, two, from the Estate of Bernice Richard, were sold by Christie's New York, 2nd December 1993, lot 276 and another at Christie's New York, 28th March 1996, lot 342 and the present example in these rooms 7th December 1983, lot 278.
Both Buddhist and Daoist sancai-glazed stoneware figures were popularly commissioned during the Ming dynasty. Other Daoist examples include a smaller figure of the Heavenly Marshal Zhao, dated 1482 in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and another related seated figure of the Daoist God of Literature, Wenchang Wang in the Royal Ontario Museum is illustrated in Henry Trubner, Royal Ontario Museum, The Far Eastern Collection, Toronto, 1968, p. 72, no. 90.
For another larger sancai Daoist figure, representing the Celestial Worthy of Primordial Beginning, from the Tsui Art Foundation, Hong Kong, see Stephen Little, Taoism and the Arts of China, Chicago, 2000, Catalogue no.68. A polychrome figure which may represent the Daoist deity Yuan Shi Tian Zun (The Primal Celestial Excellency) of the San Qing (Three Pure Ones) in the British Museum is illustrated by J.Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, p. 540, pl. 19:2.