Ca. 1368-1644 AD. Ming Dynasty.
A fabulous set of two mould-made, glazed ceramic zodiac figures. Each wearing long draping gowns of rich green, yellow and orange hues. Each figure holding a an animal of the Chinese zodiac, a rabbit and a sheep in his hands.The animals of the Chinese zodiac – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig- corresponded to the twelve earthly branches and are traditionally found in tombs of the wealth and elite. Interestingly, the term zodiac derives from the term zodiacus, a Latin form of the Greek word meaning “circle of little animals”, hence the significance of animals among the signs. The figures are skillfully detailed and retain much original hand applied glaze and pigment. Zodiac figures were usually placed in a north-south direction in coffin chambers to represent the progression of time. The ancients believed that this arrangement would encourage the deities to guard and protect the tomb.
Provenance: Property of a London gallery, previously in old British collection formed in the 1980s. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this item.
Dimensions: 8 x 3.25 x 2.5 inches: (195mm / W:83mm) ; 800g
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