Lot 3008
  • 3008


60,000 - 80,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • 27.8 cm, 10 7/8  in.
the animal standing firmly with its curled tail sprung sharply upwards, set towards the front of its spine three triangular horns, behind its lowered head detailed with a pair of almond-shaped eyes and a protruding snout, the pottery of a greyish buff tone with traces of straw-coloured glaze


Sotheby's New York, 4th June 1985, lot 79.
Collection of Earl Morse, New York.

Catalogue Note

This piece is notable for the lively expression of the beast, its body rendered to suggest movement. Ceramic beasts of this type are discussed by Ezekiel Schloss in the catalogue to the exhibition Art of the Han, China Institute in America, New York, 1979, p. 64, where he suggests that they were popular tomb guardians that were meant to protect the deceased from evil spirits. A similar beast, attributed to the Western Jin dynasty, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum. Sculpture, vol. 1, Funeral Figures and Molds from the Warring States Period to the Southern and Northern Dynasties, Beijing, 2011, pl. 168. See also one carved with wings, unearthed in Yanshi county, Henan province, and now in the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Beijing University, illustrated in Angela Falco Howard et. al., Chinese Sculpture, New Haven, 2006, fig. 2.2; one with knobs applied to the spine, unearthed from Zhengzhou, Henan province and now in the Henan Provincial Museum, Zhengzhou, illustrated in Sekai tōji zenshū/Ceramic Art of the World, vol. 10, Tokyo, 1982, pl. 272; another included in the exhibition Art of the Han, op.cit., cat. no. 40; and a larger example with pronounced ribs, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, illustrated in Suzanne G. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1975, pl. 50.