Lot 99. A rare pair of marble seated lions, Tang dynasty (618-906); 20.1cm., 7 7/8 in. Estimate 40,000 - 60,000 GBP. Lot sold 50,000 GBP. © Sotheby's.
each powerfully carved figure seated on its haunches with its muscular front paws firmly planted on the rectangular base, the head facing forward with mouth open in a roar showing the teeth and up-curled tongue, the ears flattened back above the long, curling mane, the smooth stone with a warm ivory patina.
Provenance: Acquired in Asia during the second half of the 19th century and thence by descent
Lions of this type were produced in different sizes, forms and materials; for example a smaller puddingstone seated lion, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, was included in the exhibition Chinese Buddhist Sculpture from the Wei through the T’ang Dynasties, National Museum of History, Taipei, 1983, cat. no. 32; and a slightly larger stone figure was sold in our New York rooms, 19th March 2007, lot 123.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, London, 14 May 2014