Imposing Lokapala figure standing in menacing pose. Terracotta with traces of old color pigments. China, Tang dynasty (618-907 AD.) Museum piece.
Lokapalas according to the Buddhist doctrine are safeguards for Buddha and his temples guarding them from evil spirits. Chinese emperors and upper class were buried in tombs accompanied by a variety of figures, many of which were designed to protect the deceased from evil. This Lokapala stands strong, with a menacing pose, protecting, like the warrior he is. He is a vivid representation of a Tang warrior, valiant and powerful. This particular Lokapala is one of the best- preserved and largest examples. He even stands out from those in the National Archeological Museum of Tiananmen Square in Beijing or the Chinese Museum in Shanghai.
Part of the Buddhist tradition, lokapala are the heavenly guardians of the four cardinal directions, and four figures would have been placed inside Chinese temples or tombs at the four cardinal points. Their exaggerated poses and facial features are an indication of their ferocity.
This gorgeous piece is accompanied by the following documents:
– Test from ASA Francine Maurer Laboratory.
– European Passport
– Certificate of Expertise by Jean-Yves Nathan – a leading authority specialized in Far East Archaeology from the CEDEA (The European Confederation of Art Experts).
– Certificate of Authenticity by Muzeion Gallery
Burial figurines of graceful dancers, mystical beasts, and everyday objects reveal both how people in early China approached death and how they lived. Since people viewed the afterlife as an extension of worldly life, these figurines, called mingqi, sometimes referred as “spirit utensils” or “vessels of ghosts” disclose details of routine existence and provide insights into belief systems over a thousand-year period.