Mortuary Figures of the Zodiac Signs

Mortuary Figures of the Zodiac Signs


Part of a set. See all set records

Gray earthenware with traces of slip

Overall: 22.6 cm (8 7/8 in.)

The Norweb Collection 1972.76


The twelve-animal zodiac series—rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar—signifies a traditional Chinese concept of time structured in a cyclical order. The twelve animals are also linked to the art of fortunetelling that underlies human existence in connection with the changes of the universe. The use of the twelve zodiac animals as tomb furniture suggests they provided a cosmological structure for the afterlife.

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