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HOME : Chinese Art : Tang Dynasty : Tang Dynasty Spirit Guardian
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Tang Dynasty Spirit Guardian - PH.0233
Origin: China
Circa: 618 AD to 906 AD
Dimensions: 21.75" (55.2cm) high x 8" (20.3cm) wide
Collection: Chinese Art
Style: Tang
Medium: Terracotta

Location: Great Britain
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It was during the Tang Dynasty that China’s outstanding technological and aesthetic achievements opened to external influences, resulting in the introduction of numerous new forms of self-expression, coupled with internal innovation and considerable social freedom. The Tang Dynasty reflected the greatest age for Chinese poetry, painting, and sculpture, although there was a notable decline in Buddhist sculptures following repression of the faith by pro-Taoism administrations later in the regime. This type of figure is known as a tomb or spirit guardian. Originally, a pair of such figures always stood guard at the tombs of Chinese rulers. Traditionally, both figures in the pair are mythological composite creatures--one is always an amalgamation of various animals while the other is combined of human and animal traits. These guardians were interred in order to ward off potential tomb robbers or evil spirits that might try to infiltrate the tomb. This mythological beast combines the body and face of a feline with the legs and hooves of a horse. His snarling face, complete with fangs, has been expertly rendered, conveying a determined expression that is fierce and intimidating. While just half of a pair, this guardian stands alone, revealing the exotic beauty of these fantastical creatures. - (PH.0233)


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