Tomb Guardian

Unknown makerca. 618 A.D. - 907 A.D.

Huntington Museum of Art

Huntington Museum of Art

This grave guardian dates to the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907), a period of economic and cultural prosperity, during which the capital, Chang'an, was a cosmopolitan city where a spirit of internationalism prevailed. Sumptuous burials were characteristic, featuring large, multichambered brick tombs approached by long tunnels, along which symmetrically placed niches held a multitude of figures. This is an excellent example of the fine polychrome sculpture of the period, composed of straw-glazed earthenware with painted details in blue, red, and black, and is a combination of mold-made and modeled elements. The fierce warrior is elaborately armed, wearing a helmet with a nape and ear guards, and breast-and backplates secured by shoulder straps and a wide belt. There is gilding around the edges of the headpiece and on the breastplate. His thigh-length garment is worn over a long skirt, divided in the middle for freedom of movement. Epaulets in the form of animal heads add to the warrior's powerful countenance, and his pierced fists once would have held wooden weapons.

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  • Title: Tomb Guardian
  • Creator: Unknown maker
  • Date: ca. 618 A.D. - 907 A.D.
  • Location: China
  • Physical Dimensions: w12.5 x h28 x d9.75 in.
  • Dynasty: Tang
  • Credit Line: Funds provided by Employees of Standard Ultramarine Color Company in memory of Mr. Jean Dourif
  • Type: sculpture
  • Medium: glazed and painted earthenware


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