Monster Caryatid


late 500s
Overall: 28 x 40 cm (11 x 15 3/4 in.)
Location: not on view
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The complex of Buddhist cave temples at Xiangtangshan, “Mountain of Echoing Halls,” is a central achievement of the Northern Qi period.


This squatting monster with claws on its knees, braces its shoulders against an overhanging molding. The half-human, half-animal creature was likely part of a Buddhist cave-temple complex at Xiangtangshan, in Hebei Province, northwest China. Found in the lower registers of stone monuments of either architectural structures or statues of Buddhist deities, such monsters had a supportive function. Their scary appearance was believed to keep evil spirits away from the sacred sites.
Monster Caryatid

Monster Caryatid

late 500s

China, from Xiangtangshan, Northern Qi dynasty (550–577)

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