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Tomb Guardian with Animal Head

Tomb Guardian with Animal Head

early 700s

Part of a set. See all set records

Glazed earthenware, sancai (three-color) ware

Overall: 92.3 x 43.8 x 41.9 cm (36 5/16 x 17 1/4 x 16 1/2 in.)

Gift of various donors to the department of Asian Art (by exchange) 2000.118.1

Description

With their fierce expressions and exaggerated physical features, these two fantastic guardian creatures were intended to guard the entrance to a tomb, warding off evil as well as keeping the soul of the deceased from wandering. Known as "earth spirits" or qitou, they are markedly different in appearance: one has an animal face and a pair of antlers growing above its eyebrows; the other sports a human face with huge protruding ears and a short horn surrounded by fiery, twisting hair. Their many elongated spikes heighten the fearful intensity.

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