A Cizhou ware ceramic 'tiger' pillow. Jin dynasty. Photo Bonhams

Potted in the form of a recumbent tiger lying on all fours with its tail swept to the right, surmounted at the top of the body with a panel with floral sprays within a quatrefoil border, the body decorated with striped motif on a creamy beige background. 36.7cm long. Lot 262. Estimate: HK$ 250,000 - 350,000 / US$ 32,000 - 45,000 / £20,000 - 28,000. Unsold

金 磁州窯老虎形

'Cizhou ware' refers to a kind of sturdy stoneware produced during the Northern Song, Jin and Yuan dynasties at kilns throughout the northern Chinese provinces of Shanxi, Hebei and Henan. Characterised by heavy potting and freely drawn, sometimes whimsical designs, they are called 'popular' ceramics which are different from the types produced for the Imperial court.

The ceramic pillows were not only used by the living, they were also buried in tombs for the next life, along with other items for daily use. 

Compare two similar tiger-shaped pillows - one exhibited at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, illustrated in Song Ceramics from the Kwan Collection, Hong Kong, 1994, pp. 362-363, no. 163 and the other sold at Sotheby's New York on 19 September 2002, lot 83.

Bonhams. 27 May 2012 2 p.m. Hong KongFine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art