Chinese Pottery Face of a Lokapala


A Chinese moulded terracotta fragmentary face of a Lopakala, dating to the Tang Dynasty period. The fragment displays the face, neck and part of the headdress of a Lokapala, with his distinctive ferocious facial traits finely modelled in the terracotta. His minacious look, high raised eyebrows, open and glaring eyes and grinning mouth, are traditional attributes of these mythological deities.

Date: Circa 618-906 AD
Period: Tang Dynasty
Provenance: 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, fragmentary, some earthly encrustations to the surface. The piece has been mounted on a custom-made stand ideal for display.


SKU: CS-204 Category: Tags: ,

This fragment was likely part of a ‘mingqi’, a burial figurine. 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. Such terracotta figures were made for the service and entertainment of the owner, ensuring that their journey in the underworld was a happy one. Terracotta warrior figures, such as this fragment, 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 or Lokapalas 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 the Roger Moss Collection, visit our Provenance Collection Page.

Weight 140 g
Dimensions H 9 cm

Pottery and Porcelain