Art/ Collection/ Art Object

One of a Pair of Seated Lions

Tang dynasty (618–907)
ca. late 7th–first half of the 8th century
Earthenware with remains of pigments
H. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm); W. 5 in. (12.7 cm); D. 6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Partial and Promised Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen R. Beckwith, in honor of Suzanne G. Valenstein, 2002
Accession Number:
Not on view
While lions are not native to China, some specimens apparently had reached there from the West by the Western Han (206 BC.–AD 9) period: there is evidence, for example, that lions were among the many exotic animals kept in the Han-dynasty imperial parks. In all probability, these two meticulously sculpted ceramic figurines functioned as bases for some kind of stand. Counterparts to these earthenware lions can be found in Tang-dynasty (618–907) stone sculpture.
Stephen R. and Patricia M. Beckwith , New York (until 2002; donated to MMA)
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