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Lokapala on a Recumbent Bull

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
This fierce, armor-clad Lokapala or Heavenly King (tian wang) would have served as a Buddhist guardian of the four cardinal directions, protecting both the dharma (teachings of the Buddha) and the religious community. During the Tang dynasty, such protectors were often portrayed with non-Han facial features, reflecting the import of Buddhism into China as a foreign religion, introduced by foreign monks and merchants who brought new ideas, technologies, and religions across the ancient trading routes.
MEDIUM Earthenware with glaze
  • Place Made: Northern, China
  • DATES 618–906
    DYNASTY Tang Dynasty
    PERIOD Tang Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 29 1/4 x 13 in. (74.3 x 33 cm) mount (dimensions as installed): 29 1/2 × 13 × 5 1/2 in. (74.9 × 33 × 14 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE By exchange
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1937, provenance not yet documented; by 1937, acquired by Yamanaka & Co., New York, NY; March 1937, purchased from Yamanaka & Co. by the Brooklyn Museum, by exchange.
    Provenance FAQ
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    CAPTION Lokapala on a Recumbent Bull, 618–906. Earthenware with glaze, 29 1/4 x 13 in. (74.3 x 33 cm). Brooklyn Museum, By exchange, 37.129. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.129_threequarter_PS11.jpg)
    IMAGE threequarter, 37.129_threequarter_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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