A grey pottery figure of an earth spirit

北魏  灰陶鎮墓獸

The beast is vividly realized, sitting on its haunches with its long slender forelegs with clubbed forepaws resting on the front of the shaped base. The upright body has a prominent chest and a row of flame-like spines running up the back from the curled tail to the pointed crown. The deep-set eyes gaze out from beneath hooded brows, with some incised and pricked detailing, above the huge gaping maw with prominent fangs and long, lolling tongue. The pottery is of dark grey colour. 

The role of the earth spirit in the afterlife was a temporary one, providing protection for the soul of the deceased in the early part of its journey.  A terrifying appearance, to scare away demons who might hinder this journey,  was vital to its ability to carry out this role successfully, and -incidentally -allowed the Northern Wei potters to stretch the limits of their imagination and skill. 

 

Dimensions: Height: 33 cm, 13 inches

Date: Northern Wei dynasty (386 - 535)

Stock No. 830

Price: On Request