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Dating from the Chinese Song Dynasty (960 - 1127 A.D.), this rare terracotta tile displays a mythological scene of a grotesque man holding a spear and riding a fierce, leaping tiger.


These beautiful decorated terracotta tiles were used to adorn the roofs and facades of temples, palaces, and wealthy households. They were a sign of wealth and status, and their elaborate designs often served to convey symbolic or auspicious meanings, as we see in this piece.


In traditional Chinese culture, the tiger is one of the most significant symbols, dating back to ancient times, and being viewed as brave, powerful, and ferocious animals. In ancient Chinese mythology, the tiger is one of the four sacred animals representing the cardinal directions - the tiger representing the West and the autumn season.


This particular example of ancient Chinese art is over 30cm wide, and is mounted on a plinth of aged oak and textured steel.


The tile has been repaired.


  • Acquired by Timeless on the UK antiquities market, 2022. Formerly part of a private collection of Chinese art formed in Japan in the 1990s

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