The Liao dynasty goldware always has a unique style, and the Makara shaped ear ornaments are a typical example. Their U shape and curvy body, angry faces, half fish and half animal style all makes it look quite mysterious. Makara figures are often found in Liao dynasty objects, such as the porcelain, jade and other ornaments. The Makara is a mythical animal in ancient India, with half body under water and the other half on land. It is also known as the Capricorn in the twelve constellations.( in different shapes ). Indian Makara shapes are very complicated, its lower part of body is in fish style while its upper body is in a mixture of crocodile, elephant, deer or other different kinds of animals. Makara is known as the Vahana(vehicle) of the Goddess of the Ganges River. Many Hindu god ear ornaments also shows the Makaras, such as the God Vishnu. In 398 AD, Eastern Jin dynasty, Samghadeva translated "Madhyamagama" and mentioned the story of the powerful makara that destroyed boats. Obviously, Makara was brought to China with Buddhist culture.


  • Title: Gold 'Makara' earrings
  • Location Created: China
  • Provenance: Acquired by Shanghai Guanfu Museum
  • Type: Accessories
  • Rights: Shanghai Guanfu Museum, China

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