Figure of a Chimera (mythical beast)

DATE:
25–220 CE
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Earthenware and paint
CLASSIFICATION:
Sculpture
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 8 1/2 x 10 x 16 in. (21.59 x 25.4 x 40.64 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
304 SNAIL GALLERY
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift
COPYRIGHT:
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art
OBJECT NUMBER:
1995.66

General Description

Representations of fantastic beasts such as the chimera were placed in Chinese tombs to protect the dead from evil in the afterlife. With its highly sculpted surface and animated painting, swirling mane, crouching stance, pointed ears, and bulging eyes, this guardian confronts the viewer, daring him to pass. The square socket behind the neck indicates that the beast originally supported something, perhaps a standard.

Adapted from

"Chimera," in_ Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection,_ ed. Suzanne Kotz (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997), 38.