Tomb Guardian

700-750 (made)
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Tomb guardians were used to deter any evil spirits that tried to enter the tomb. Modelled on the Buddhist ‘Heavenly Kings’ (tian wang), these figures were originally used in pairs. This one stands on an ox, with a large bird raising its wings on the top of his head.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Earthenware with lead glaze
Brief Description
Earthenware figure of a 'heavenly king' or tian wang decorated with coloured lead glazes, China, 8th century.
Dimensions
  • Height: 99cm
Style
Gallery Label
TOMB GUARDIAN 700–50, Tang dynasty Tomb guardians were usually placed in pairs at tomb entrances to deter evil spirits that might try to enter. They were modelled on the Buddhist ‘Heavenly Kings’ (tian wang). This one stands on an ox, with a large bird with raised wings on the top of his head. Earthenware with three-coloured (sancai) glaze Given by Mrs Elsa Gotthilf in honour of her husband Dr Willy Gotthilf Museum no. C.48-1955(28/03/2012)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee
Summary
Tomb guardians were used to deter any evil spirits that tried to enter the tomb. Modelled on the Buddhist ‘Heavenly Kings’ (tian wang), these figures were originally used in pairs. This one stands on an ox, with a large bird raising its wings on the top of his head.
Collection
Accession Number
C.48-1955

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record createdApril 3, 2008
Record URL