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Zhenmushou (Two-headed antlered tomb guardian figure)

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China, Jiangling Chu culture, Hubei province, Zhenmushou (Two-headed antlered tomb guardian figure), 4th century BCE/3rd century BCE, wood with traces of red and black lacquer; natural antlers with traces of vermillion lacquer, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection of Early Chinese Art, public domain, 2002.71.1A-E

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Details
Title

Zhenmushou (Two-headed antlered tomb guardian figure)

Artist

China, Jiangling Chu culture, Hubei province (Chinese)

Date

4th century BCE/3rd century BCE

Period

China: Warring States period (475-221 BCE)

Medium

wood with traces of red and black lacquer; natural antlers with traces of vermillion lacquer

Dimensions (H x W x D)

38 in x 25 3/4 in x 18 in

Collection Area

Asian Art

Category

Sculpture

Object Type

funerary sculpture

figurine

Culture

Chinese

Credit Line

The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection of Early Chinese Art

Accession Number

2002.71.1A-E

Copyright

public domain

Terms

antler

funerary sculpture

lacquer

sculpture

Warring States

wood

Location

Belluschi Building

Ayer Wing

1st Floor

Clark Gallery

Description

Antlered guardian figures are unique to tombs of the Chu culture, which flourished in south central China from the 7th to the 2nd centuries BCE. Double-headed guardian figures, like this one, were for tombs of the elite, while single-headed guardians were for those of lower rank. Their function is unknown, but they may have been used in shamanistic rituals during the tomb occupant’s lifetime or during the funeral.

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