Six Dynasties, late Northern Dynasties (386–581)–Sui (581–618)
ca. second half of 6th century
Earthenware with relief decoration under green and brown glazes
H. 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm); Diam. of rim 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm); Diam. of foot 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1927
Not on view
While lions are not native to China, there is evidence that some specimens had reached China from the West by the Western Han (206 B.C.–A.D. 9) period. With the firm establishment of Buddhism in China in the Six Dynasties (220–589) period, lions-regarded as defenders of the faith and of the Buddhist law-began to be used in a specifically Buddhist context. The two types of relief lotus petals that circle the bowl and the bottom of this footed lamp were also a popular ornamental motif in sixth-century Buddhist art.