Chinese Tang Dynasty Terracotta Zodiac Figurines



A selection of two finely moulded and painted Chinese Tang Dynasty terracotta zodiac figurines, each featuring a zoomorphic head on an elaborately dressed human body. The figurines have been carefully painted after firing and are shown standing on a flat, rectangular base.

N.B. Price is for an individual figurine. Weights and sizes are given for each figurine. Please make your selection first from the available options.

Date: Circa 618-907 AD
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Fine, complete and intact with original pigment visible.
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The Chinese zodiac is a method of counting years based on the Chinese lunar calendar which assigns every year with a representative animal in a repeating 12-year cycle. Each animal is also associated with a natural element in the Earthly Branch. The tradition of sculpting terracotta figurines into zodiac representations might have originated during the Han Dynasty. However, compared to the Han prototypes, Tang statuettes of the same subject display more elaborate features. Painted zodiac figures, such as these fine examples, were placed in wealthy tombs of the Tang Dynasty and were used as offerings serving the deceased in their afterlife.

To discover more about Chinese terracotta statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.

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Chinese Mythology

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Reference: For similar: Christie’s, New York, January 2019, Auction 17025, Lot 69.

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