Dating from the Chinese Song Dynasty (960 - 1127 A.D.), this enigmatic terracotta tile displays a scene of children playing around two artists performing the ancient Lion Dance.
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.
The Lion Dance is a traditional Chinese dance that dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). It's an important part of Chinese culture and is usually performed during special occasions and festivals, such as the Chinese New Year, the opening of businesses, and religious ceremonies.
The dance involves performers mimicing a lion's movements to bring good luck and fortune. Traditionally performed by martial artists, the Lion Dance is deeply rooted in Chinese history and folklore, and it remains a vibrant and living tradition today.
This particular depiction of the Lion Dance is mounted on a plinth of aged oak and textured steel over 30cm in width.
ANCIENT CHINESE SONG TILE OF THE LION DANCE
Acquired by Timeless on the UK antiquities market, 2022. Formerly part of a private collection of Chinese art formed in Japan in the 1990s