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SCULPTURE
A RARE PAINTED WOOD DRAGON-FORM TOTEM AND BASE

Details
A RARE PAINTED WOOD DRAGON-FORM TOTEM AND BASE
WARRING STATES

The rectangular base carved as stylized rocks with a shallow block-like projection on each side flanked by angular corners repeated on top around the aperture from which the separate dragon-form totem emerges, the four-sided shaft encircled by two raised bands below the curved neck and flattened mask-like face carved with an extended tongue, scrolled nostrils and circular eyes, with scrolled brows above and deep apertures on either side into which the separate antlers are slotted, the blackened surface with traces of red linear scroll decoration overall, minor repairs--22 in. (55.9cm.) high

Lot Essay

Lacquered or painted wooden tomb guardian figures with gaping, open mouths, protruding tongues, and deer antlers have been recovered from large tombs of the Warring States Period in the territory of the Kingdom of Chu in Junan and Hubei Provinces and extending into southern Hebei. These frequently have a serpentine body that emerges from a block-like base. Some of these divinities are double, addorsed figures, as one unearthed in tomb no. 1 at Tianxingguan, Jiangling, in Hubei, illustrated by Li Xueqin, Eastern Zhou and Qin Civilizations, New Haven, 1985, p. 350-51. A tomb guardian very similar to the present example, though missing its antlers, was recently recovered from tomb no. 2 at Baoshan, Jingmen, also in Hubei, along with many other fine articles of painted lacquer ware, bronze and jade, illustrated in Wenwu, 1988, no. 5, pl. V:1

Other comparable painted wood examples are discussed and illustrated by Alfred Salmony, see "Antler and Tongue", Artibus Asiae, 1954, pp. 1-57, figs. 1-3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 16, 17
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