Han Dynasty Red Terracotta Pixiu Chimera
A finely hollow moulded red terracotta statuette of a Chimera, dating to the Chinese Han Dynasty, possibly used in Antiquity as an incense holder. Named Pixiu in the Chinese tradition, this statuette features the usual attributes of this mythical creature: the body of a lion, the head of a dragon and small feathered wings. Standing on its four legs, in a defensive stance, it seems to be growling, showing its big fangs through the open mouth. Its long tail curls towards the front, softly modelled wings are rested atop of its fore legs and it features a hole in the middle of its body, on the top. It strikes a pose clearly showing its majesty and power, thus to scare away any offenders.
Circa 202 BC-220 ADPeriod:
The C. Roger Moss OBE collection. The late C. Roger Moss OBE was a renowned art collector who, throughout the years, thanks to his determination and enthusiasm, was able to create an outstanding collection of artworks, most prominently from China and the Orient, but also from other cultures.Condition:
Very fine. Some earthly encrustations to the surface and some earthly deposit to the interior.
Terracotta moulded zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures are known in Chinese as mingqi. Such statuettes would have been placed in Chinese graves, to assist, protect and entertain the deceased in the afterlife. Statuettes of chimeras, such as this fine example, would have been placed in the deceased’s tomb as guardians and companions. In Chinese mythology and culture, Pixiu creatures were reputed as very fierce. They were said to have an outstanding appetite for gold, silver and precious jewellery, as, mythologically, they were the only possible components of their diet. Hence, they were considered as a very auspicious symbol capable of attracting wealth. Pixiu crave the smell of precious metals and like to bring their masters money in their mouth, so it does not come as a surprise that they would be placed in tombs.
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