A rare carved limestone mock door

唐    石灰石雕假門

The door is of  broadly square form surmounted by a arched gable enclosing a semi-circular tympanum. The double doorway itself is recessed behind the door posts and lintel, and is secured by a large lock carved in relief. Each leaf of the door is deftly decorated in a distinctive style of incising and low-relief carving with a figure of a guardian in full elaborate armour. The door posts are decorated with winding flowers and the lintel has a pair of mandarin ducks and further flowers. Outside the door posts are uprights of curved section, also with floral decoration, extending down on each side to rectangular blocks carved on the front with mythical beasts, and supporting recumbent lions carved in the round. The uprights extend upwards to the arched gable, decorated with flowers and geometric elements, around the tympanum carved and incised with a scene of a dancer, perhaps Sogdian, with long sleeves aflutter on a lotus-shaped mat, flanked by two chubby  Central Asian boys wearing jewelled bracelets and necklaces and headdresses. The stone itself is of grey colour, with some darker and lighter areas worked into the carved design.

New York private collection

For a related mock door in the Field Museum, Chicago, see Osvald Siren, Chinese Sculpture, no.436. 

Dimensions: Height: 52.1cm, 20 ½ inches

Date: Tang Dynasty (618-906)

Price: On Request