Chimera (Pixiu) Terracotta Mythological Being – Tang Dynasty, China ‘618-907 AD’
Magnificent Mythological Being “Chimera” with Human Face and Flaming Rays Halo. Orange Terracotta with Traces of Stucco and Painting.
This creature is commonly known as Pixiu. Fierce looking and covered with whitish-grey fur, Pixiu, are a type of auspicious, winged animal, written about in ancient Chinese history and heralded through the millennia by fantastic stories of powerful and grandiose feats of victory in battle. Their fantastic legend has been passed down through two-thousand years of Chinese lore. They have the powerful head of a Chinese dragon, the bold body of a lion and, historically, depending on whether it is a male or female, sports on its head either one antler (male) or two antlers (female).
It was believed that the ferociously devoted Pixiu would always and constantly guard its Master, even after he passed from this life into the next world. It was also believed that Pixiu would help their Masters ascend to heaven by flying them up to Heaven while they rode on their strong backs.
This gorgeous piece is accompanied by the following documents:
– European Passport
– Certificate of Expertise by Jean-Yves Nathan – a leading authority specialized in Far East Archaeology from the CEDEA (The European Confederation of Art Experts).
– Certificate of Authenticity by Muzeion Gallery
Burial figurines of graceful dancers, mystical beasts, and everyday objects reveal both how people in early China approached death and how they lived. Since people viewed the afterlife as an extension of worldly life, these figurines, called mingqi, sometimes referred as “spirit utensils” or “vessels of ghosts” disclose details of routine existence and provide insights into belief systems over a thousand-year period.
When China was unified again, first briefly under the Sui and then under the long and prosperous Tang, mingqi truly resurged as a part of elaborate tombs. Tang mingqi integrated the guardian figures and pack animals of the Northern and Southern Dynasties, but also incorporated the many international influences that were popular during this time of stability and expansion. Following Han dynasty traditions, Tang mingqi frequently take the form of musicians, dancers, and servants in clay, but are ornamented with sancai (three-color) glaze, an artistic influence that was transmitted from Central Asia along the Silk Road. Foreigners were also frequently depicted, reflecting a cosmopolitan society that embraced exchanges with other groups and cultures.