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Pair of Earth Spirits, Tang (618 - 907)
Category: Asian Art
SubType: Ceramics
Origin: China
Era: pre 1600
Height: 18 Inches inches
Depth: 10 Inches inches
Each figure seated on a rockwork base actively engaged in subduing a threatening animal. The figure with human facial features is pink fleshed with large round eyes, and bulging, furrowed brows. The nose is broad and flat with nostrils flared by exertion, the top teeth are revealed as they bite into the lower lip. Two large, leaf-like ears and a single spiraling horn protrude from his head and fan shape wings emerge from atop each shoulder, his muscular, leonine body is cold- painted with vibrant black and white stripes and with an intricate circular polychrome design down the chest. The figure wrestles with an imposing snake; one clawed hand wrapped around its open-mouthed head pulls aggressively to compel the reptile to release its coils from the rockwork around the figures clawed feet.

The companion figure has vividly painted leonine features with two sets of slender, tapering horns emerging from the head as well as a prominent flame-like projection flanked on either side by feline ears. The powerful torso is similarly painted with black and white stripes and elaborate polychrome florets that cover the chest area and the flame-like, feathery wings that project from either side of the body. The clawed figure is seated atop a wild animal, perhaps a boar, and is in the process of savagely prying its jaws apart.

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