58
58
A MARBLE 'LION' GROUP
TANG DYNASTY OR LATER
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 17,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
58
A MARBLE 'LION' GROUP
TANG DYNASTY OR LATER
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 17,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Chinese Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Florence and Herbert Irving Gift

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New York

A MARBLE 'LION' GROUP
TANG DYNASTY OR LATER
the larger lion seated on its haunches on a rectangular base with a small cub crawling across the shoulders, the right foreleg raised with the paw cupped inward, the brawny left foreleg pressing against the ground, the head tilted slightly to one side with the mouth open in a roar, the fangs exposed and the tongue flicked upward, the eyes wide open beneath furrowed brows, the ears pressed back against the long mane sweeping down the neck and brushing against the chest and shoulders, further tufts of fur at the elbows and tail, the stone a warm ivory tone, stand (2)
Height 9 1/8  in., 23 cm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Sotheby's London, 11th July 1978, lot 37.
Ralph M. Chait Galleries, New York, 27th October 1982.
Collection of Florence (1920-2018) and Herbert (1917-2016) Irving, no. 831.

Catalogue Note

The present sculpture is distinctive among Tang dynasty marble carvings of lions in both its naturalism and in the inclusion of a small cub crawling on the parent's back. The latter trait is particularly rare as only a handful of other Tang sculptures, in any medium, depict an adult male lion with its offspring. Examples include a limestone 'lion' group roughly half the size of the present carving, and with the cub nuzzling against the father's leg, from the Von Callenberg Collection, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 7th April 2014, lot 3630; and a sancai-glazed stoneware figure of a prowling lion carrying the cub in its mouth, in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art (acc. no. 1940.47).

Other Tang dynasty marble figures of lions include one, also approximately half the size of the present, and with a similar mane, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (acc. no. 50.145.330); another, slightly taller than the present, in the collection of the British Museum, London (coll. no. 1910,0418.13); a pair from a European collection sold in our London rooms, 14th May 2014, lot 99; another pair, which like the present example show the animals with one of the legs raised, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 4th April 2017, lot 3062; and a massive marble lion from the Robert Ellsworth Collection, sold at Christie's New York, 17th March 2015, lot 16.

Chinese Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Florence and Herbert Irving Gift

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New York