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Mythical Figure

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
This large menacing creature with antlers and a protruding tongue is a guardian (zhen mu shou), often found in tombs of the Chu culture in the southern Chinese provinces of Hunan, Henan, and Hubei during the Warring States through Western Han (206 B.C.E.–9 C.E.) periods. They are found placed in the chamber of the tomb, closest to the head of the tomb occupant and facing inward toward the occupant, in order to protect the deceased. Chu culture is renowned for its elaborately carved and painted lacquer objects; designs similar to the ones on this mythical guardian are also found on Chu textiles and inlaid bronzes of the same period.
MEDIUM Wood, horn, lacquer, and polychrome
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES 5th-3rd century B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Eastern Zhou Dynasty
    PERIOD Warring States Period
    DIMENSIONS assembled: 41 5/8 x 30 1/2 x 12 3/16 in. (105.7 x 77.5 x 31.0 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1999.20a-d
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Gisele Croes, purchase gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Black, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Dickes, Mr. and Mrs. Rohit Desai, and Brooklyn Museum Collection
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Mythical Figure, 5th-3rd century B.C.E. Wood, horn, lacquer, and polychrome, assembled: 41 5/8 x 30 1/2 x 12 3/16 in. (105.7 x 77.5 x 31.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Gisele Croes, purchase gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Black, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Dickes, Mr. and Mrs. Rohit Desai, and Brooklyn Museum Collection, 1999.20a-d. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1999.20a-d_SL3.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 1999.20a-d_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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