Circa (618 – 906AD) 2 (Two) Tang Dynasty tomb figures representing half human and half beasts. Beautifully polychromed at 13 and 14 inches. Comes with Certificate of Guarantee. I was going to sell them separately but wanted to keep them together because there are supposed to be two beasts guarding the afterlife where one was a animal beast and the second a human beast which are represented in this pair. These regularly fetch $10K- $14K each. They wont last long.
Measures: Height: Largest 14 Inches (35.5cm) Width: 10 Inches (22.5cm) Depth: 5.5 Inches (11cm)
Condition: Very good with wear commensurate of age and use. Expected repairs on both figures.
The inclusion of fantastic animal guardians as part of the retinue of tomb figures began in the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534) and continued into the Tang dynasty. Also called earth spirits (dusheng), or ‘zhenmushou’ (“tomb-guarding beasts”), these guardians took the form of a fantastic hybrid creature composed of various animal and sometimes human elements and were placed in the tomb in pairs to ward off any malevolent beings who threatened to intrude. Such idea was indeed already present during the Warring States period (5th-4th centuries BC) in tombs from the southern state of Chu, where often ‘zhenmushou’ with incredible antler tines and long tongues sticking out were placed at the entrance of the tomb to guard the coffin and protect it from evil. However, in the south, tomb guardians quickly disappeared after the Eastern Jin period (317-420), an abrupt change of practice that probably reflected different cultural approaches. This was probably due to the fact that northern people -being more mindful of spirits and demons- were always more inclined to protect the dead from undesirable encounters and went into a lot of effort in creating wonderful sculptures of tomb guardians; southerners instead simply chose to continue to transmit the age-old practice of providing for the daily life of the deceased in the afterlife.
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