Camel with Dionysian imagery on its saddle bags


Not on view

This pottery model of a Bactrian camel may be a rare example of a Chinese-style tomb figure produced in eastern Central Asia. The identity of the central figure on the packboards is uncertain. He may represent the Indian Kubera, king of the yakshas, who is portrayed in drinking scenes being waited on by women. However, the full beard and absence of headgear are unusual in depictions of Kubera. Another interpretation of the scene is that the three figures were inspired by representations of the Descent from the Cross, an important theme in early Christian iconography that may have been transmitted along the Silk Road.

Camel with Dionysian imagery on its saddle bags, Earthenware with appliqué relief decoration and pigment, China

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