Chinese Stoneware Zodiac Tiger Paperweight


A finely carved Han Dynasty stone paperweight in the shape of a tiger, the third of the 12-year cycle of animals of the Chinese zodiac. The animal, shown recumbent, seems to be leaning against a rock formation, rendered in black with detailing in bright red. The tiger is naturalistically modelled and its mantle is decorated with stripes of dark pigment against a red-orange background. Facial detailing, eyes, whiskers and eyebrows, are painted with very fine lines of dark pigment.

Date: Circa 202 BC-220 AD
Period: Han 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, original vivid pigmentation.


SKU: CS-180 Category: Tags: ,

The invention of paper has been attributed to the Han Dynasty, supposedly realised by a court official and presented to the emperor. Paper had major impact on the dissemination of Han literary and artistic culture. Zoomorphic paperweights made in clay, stone and bronze were produced in abundance throughout the Han Dynasty, as important study tools used by ancient Chinese scholars. This specific statuette might have been modelled in the shape of the zodiac figure of the tiger. 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.

To discover more about the Roger Moss Collection, visit our Provenance Collection Page.

Weight 258 g
Dimensions W 7 x H 5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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