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Sancai ceramic tomb figure
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Тhis figure of a fabulous beast is part of a group reputed to be from the tomb of Liu Tingxun, an important Chinese military commander who died in AD 728. A memorial tablet found with these figures records his skill in military matters and the arts of statesmanship, and that he died at the age of 72.

They are among the tallest known burial figures from the Tang dynasty (AD 618-906). The group comprises two fabulous beasts (one with a human face), two tierce guardian figures usually seen at the entrance to temples, and two officials, one military, one civil. The military official has armour over his green robe and a bird of prey on his hat. It is interesting that all the human heads are unglazed, including that of the fabulous beast, as are the flaming manes of both animals. Otherwise, the figures are completely covered with lead sancai (three-colour) glaze.

Sancai ceramic tomb figure


From northern China, probably Henan province, early 8th century
AD Ht 109 cm (max.)



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