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HOME : Chinese Art : Tang Sancai-Glazed Works : Pair of a Tang Sancai-Glazed Lokapala and Attendant
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Pair of a Tang Sancai-Glazed Lokapala and Attendant - H.008
Origin: China
Circa: 618 AD to 907 AD
Dimensions: 17" (43.2cm) high x 8" (20.3cm) wide
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Glazed Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
The Deva King assumes a threatening posture waving raised arm and clenched fist into the air with the other arm cocked on hip. He stands atop an ox or cow with an air of confidence and fixity. He wears layers of robes beneath clad armor with circular chest plates tightened with a wide belt. Flared wrist and forearm plates, close-fitting calf plates with circular design and a tight-fitting black cap with red border and top knot include some of his many accessories. Accompanying the Deva King is a military officer bearing resemblance to the Deva King with his ferocious grimacing face and exaggerated facial features. Yet, his posture is more contained, standing to attention, arms to side, hands stretched forward to hold weapon. His attire is less ornate, but equally impressive--clad armor with a striped waistcoat over flowing pantalones. Both figures were produced using sancai glazing, owing to their beautiful coloration resulting from the fusion of amber, yellow, and green glazes. The 'Deva King' is an image of fear and respect. Borne out of a synthesis of the indigenous Chinese 'Heavenly Kings', legendary guardians of the four directions, and the Buddhist "Guardian Kings," lokapalas, these supernatural beings were held in high esteem among T'ang burial objects for their protective role. Up to 1.5 meters tall, they trample on evil in the form of a small demon, or they stand on an ox or cow, symbolizing that the king is the guardian of the south. During the Tang, it was common to situate the Deva King in pairs with other figures such as civil officers, military officers, animal guardians, and divination guardians. Though lesser in size and privilege, military officers were important members of the underground society, serving their function to lead massive armies into battle and protect one's sovereign. Considered to be the finest examples of Chinese burial objects, Tang figurines reached their peak in the first half of the eighth century The important role assigned to these models in Tang tomb arrangements and their significance as status symbols and powerful guardians protecting the dead meant that these clay figures became luxury objects. They reflect the artistic vitality of the time and give a unique perspective into the luxurious and sophisticated world of contemporary upper class life. - (H.008)

 

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