Taoshou from different periods and various locations are illustrated in situ in Clarence Eng, Colours and Contrast. Ceramic Traditions in Chinese Architecture, London, 2015, pp. 148-155. This piece also shares some characteristics with contemporary chuishou, mythological beasts placed over the diagonal eaves of roofs, such as one from the Bao’en temple in Nanjing, illustrated ibid., pl. 5.14; possibly the same, in the Nanjing Museum, was also included in the exhibition Ming. The Golden Empire, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh, 2014, cat. no. 4; compare also another sold in our London rooms, 7th March 1978, lot 49.
These ceramic beasts, which are mostly known with lead-coloured glazes, were made from the Tang dynasty onwards. Two Tang examples modelled with open mouths are illustrated in National Treasure Collection of Rare Cultural Relics of Shaanxi Province, Xi’an, 1998, pp 102 and 104, the former excavated at Huangbu, and now in the Yaozhou Kiln Museum, Tongchuan, and the latter recovered at the site of the Huaqing Palace in Lintong county.
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