Pair Of Tang Painted Terracotta Warrior Guardian Figurines

£ 2,250.00

An extremely fine and good-sized pair of Tang Dynasty moulded red terracotta tomb guardian figures, also known as Zhenmuyong or Lokapala in Buddhist tradition. The figures are portrayed dynamically standing in a contrapposto pose with one foot higher than the other, resting on a recumbent bull. Both are presented wearing lotus flower-crowned headgear and full elaborate armour, decorated with intricate floral and geometric motifs and zoomorphic-shaped epaulettes and divided breast plate over a knee-length tunic. Facial features are emphasised by a ferocious expression.


A: 53.6cm height x 22.9cm, 1650g weight

B: 54cm height x 15.7cm, 1500g weight

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size. Price is for the pair.

Date: Circa 618-906 AD
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Extremely fine, remaining of the original pigmentation still visible to the surface. Few minor chips.


Grave goods were an important status symbol in ancient China, so the affluent and important would be accompanied in their travels through the afterlife with numerous depictions of people, items and animals. Terracotta warrior figures, such as these fine examples, were originally placed at each side of the entrance of the tomb gate, which was located at the end of a long underground ramp and used to expel evil spirits and to protect the deceased resting peacefully. Their fierceness as warriors and guardians is symbolically expressed though balancing on a reclining bull. Zhenmuyong statues were usually portrayed with ferocious foreign facial and anatomical features: to ensure the best protection for the deceased, such statuettes were modelled to represent the powerful foreigners that Tang Dynasty often have to battled with.

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

Weight 1651 g
Dimensions H 54 cm
Choice of item




Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For similar: Christie’s, Amsterdam, December 2010, Auction 2848, Lot 863.

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