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HOME : Chinese Art : Yuan Dynasty : Yuan Terracotta Relief Panel
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Yuan Terracotta Relief Panel - H.552
Origin: China
Circa: 1279 AD to 1368 AD
Dimensions: 16" (40.6cm) high
Catalogue: V20
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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The Yuan developed vigorous depictions of pacing and often winged felines, which were placed in pairs to guard the sacred ways to the royal tombs--a widespread practice during the preceding Sung dynasty as well.� In this relief, a lion is pictured crouching over an embroidered ball clenching in its mouth a long twine that is tangled beneath its feet.� The lion is not an indigenous animal to China, but it was introduced later in connection with Buddhism, figuring as the defender of law and protector of buildings.� It is an emblem of valor and energy that were considered essential to the cultivation of wisdom.

The Chinese lion, despite its big eyes and fierce countenance, is not treated as the supreme predatory animal--a position, rather, held by the tiger which flourishes in the northern hinterland and evokes fear in the hearts and imagination of Chinese people.� Instead, the lion is often represented as a mythical beast playing with a ball or sacred gem amidst peony flowers and flexing its beautifully curled mane.� This particular representation seems to blend mythical and playful characteristics, creating a scene that is not only awe-inspiring but informative of the animal innocent yet righteous nature. - (H.552)


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