Chinese, Tang Dynasty
Tomb guardian, about AD 700 ‑ 750
Glazed earthenware with traces of pigment
24 3/4 × 8 7/8 × 8 3/8 in. (62.9 × 22.5 × 21.3 cm.)
Gift of an anonymous donor and James Breece 1997.6
Imagine this ferocious beast chasing after you on foot, or worse yet, flying at you from above; its sharp horns and teeth would be dying to reach you. In a nightmare world of evil spirits and restless souls, this figure guarded an ancient Chinese tomb. Fierce guardians like this are believed to have served two purposes: to defeat evil spirits that might disturb the dead and to keep the deceased’s spirit from haunting the living.