Han dynasty BC206-AD220

Jade Divine Beast

This work depicts a winged divine beast carved in the round. The beast has a tiger head, with mouth open and teeth bared, and a goatee on the chin. The top of the head is covered by a curly mane, and a long tail can be seen at the back, along with two wings, flattened at the sides of the body and extending back from the chest. The hind legs are folded in a kneeling position on the ground, with the beast sitting on its heels. The saying, "Like a tiger with wings", refers to something strong that has gotten even stronger, to the point where it becomes difficult to counter. This winged divine beast conveys just such an impression. The designer of this work has artfully used the natural red and white hues of the jade material, intricately carving the nose, forehead, two ears, and wavy mane on the red-colored portions, and thereby creating a curved outline from head to tail that generates strong visual tension. Such an ingenious design makes this work one of the finest examples of Han era divine beast round carvings.

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