Skip Navigation

Tomb Pillar

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
A pair of such pillars surmounted by a lintel would have formed the doorway into a Han-dynasty burial chamber. The figures sculpted in the round on top of each pillar were thought to have powers to protect the deceased on their afterlife journey. Bands of swirling dragons run down the center of each pillar for the same purpose. Both pillars have a design of figures under double roof gates (que): at the bottom on one pillar and between the legs of the creature on the other. In the Han dynasty, the que gate symbolized the entrance to the tomb complex and the beginning of the passage to Heaven.
MEDIUM Earthenware
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.
    DYNASTY Han Dynasty
    PERIOD Han Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 48 13/16 x 7 7/8 in. (124 x 20 cm)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.123
    CREDIT LINE By exchange
    RECORD COMPLETENESS
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.