Small votive gilt-bronzes of Laozi, the founder of Daoism, later deified as one of the principal Three Worthies, the supreme conceptual deities of that religion, became popular during the expansion of the Laozi cult in the early Tang period. See S. Matsubara, Chugoku Bukkyo Chokokushi Ron, The Path of Chinese Buddhist Sculpture, vol. 3, Tokyo, 1995, figs. 865c (standing), 876a-b (seated on similar plinths) and 877b. However, images of this large size with unusual tripartite crown and hand gesture appear to be rather rare.