Lot 907. A limestone figure of a seated lion, Tang dynasty (AD 618-907); 8 ½ in. (21.5 cm.) high. Estimate USD 20,000 - USD 30,000. Price realised USD 37,500. © Christie's Image Ltd 2020.
The fierce lion shown seated on a rectangular plinth, the braced forelegs supporting the broad torso, the face with snarling expression and the mane finely delineated.
Provenance: Mathias Komor, New York, 30 August 1954.
The James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, Chicago.
Literature: National Museum, Stockholm, Catalogue of an Exhibition of Chinese and Japanese Sculptures and Paintings, 1933, p. 21, no. 108.
Exhibited: Stockholm, National Museum, Exhibition of Chinese and Japanese Sculptures and Paintings, September 1933.
Note: The lion is well represented in Buddhist art of the Tang dynasty. Its roar was said to represent the dissemination of the Buddhist scriptures. In their role as guardian figures, lions can be found not only lining spirit roads which lead to imperial tombs, but also in pairs in tombs, such as the pair of small marble lions found guarding the front room of the underground hoard of Buddhist relics at the Famen Temple. See Famen Temple, Shanxi, 1990, pp. 164-167.
The posture and fierce expression of the present figure compares closely to a smaller puddingstone figure of a lion (14.3 cm. high), from the Florence and Herbert Irving collection, sold at Christie’s New York, March 21, 2019, lot 1182; and another grey limestone lion, of similar size, sold at Christie’s New York, 22-23 March 2012, lot 1762.
Christie's. Sacred and Imperial: The James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection Part II, New York, 24 September 2020