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IMPORTANTE PAIRE DE ROIS-GARDIENS EN TERRE CUITE POLYCHROME
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IMPORTANTE PAIRE DE ROIS-GARDIENS EN TERRE CUITE POLYCHROME

CHINE, DEBUT DE LA DYNASTIE TANG, VIIEME SIECLE

Details
IMPORTANTE PAIRE DE ROIS-GARDIENS EN TERRE CUITE POLYCHROME
CHINE, DEBUT DE LA DYNASTIE TANG, VIIEME SIECLE
Tous deux représentés debout sur des bases rectangulaires, bien campés sur leurs pieds, les bras tendus, les poings serrés ou posés sur la hanche dans une attitude agressive, tenant à l'origine des attributs, parés de bottes, de jambières aux molets, vêtus de pantalons et d'une armure en cuir maintenue par un réseau de cordons soulignant leurs ventres proéminents, les épaules rehaussées d'une cape courte, les visages féroces, les yeux révulsés, les sourcils froncés, l'un la bouche ouverte, l'autre fermée, tous deux portant un casque terminé par une plume
Hauteurs: 78 cm. (30¾ in) et 79 cm. (31 in.) (2)
Provenance
From a Dutch private collection, acquired in the late 1990's.
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT payable at 19.6% (5.5% for books) will be added to the buyer’s premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis
Post Lot Text
AN IMPORTANT PAIR OF POLYCHROME POTTERY FIGURES OF GUARDIAN KINGS
CHINE, EARLY TANG DYNASTY, 7TH CENTURY

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Lot Essay

The dating is consistent with the Oxford Authentification thermoluminescence test numbers C201b33 and C201b34

In their Buddhist role as guardians of the four directions (Skt. lokapala) they are known as tianwang in Chinese and normally occur in groups of four. During the Tang dynasty however often only one pair of tianwang was included in the iconographic configurations, particularly visible in the tombs. By the seventh century, these Heavenly Kings gained increasing popularity and especially their iconography of warrior subduing a demon-like creature or large animal such as at the bull seems to carry powerful apotropaic connotions. The Buddhist lokapalas or tianwang in full armoured regalia replaced the indiginous tomb-warrior tradition and became spectacular grave goods. Buddhist guardian figures and tomb guardians became virtually indistinguishable as the pair under discussion confirm.

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