Heavenly King, Tang dynasty, 618 - 906 CE

Heavenly King. Probably excavated in Luoyang, Henan Province, Tang dynasty, 618 - 906 CE. Earthenware with three-color, sancai, glaze, height 126 cm, National Museum of Chinese History, Beijing. © The Israel Museum

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Detail: head. Heavenly King. Probably excavated in Luoyang, Henan Province, Tang dynasty, 618 - 906 CE. Earthenware with three-color, sancai, glaze, height 126 cm, National Museum of Chinese History, Beijing. © The Israel Museum.

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Detail: body. Heavenly King. Probably excavated in Luoyang, Henan Province, Tang dynasty, 618 - 906 CE. Earthenware with three-color, sancai, glaze, height 126 cm, National Museum of Chinese History, Beijing. © The Israel Museum.

This fierce looking warrior, wearing elaborate armor, is a tomb guardian, one of the Four Heavenly Kings, representing the four cardinal directions. Originally this type of figure functioned as a lokepala, a Buddhist guardian figure trampling a bull or a demon, representing ignorance, the enemy of the Law

Exhibition 'China: One Hundred Treasures', Jerusalem, August 14, 2001 - January 15, 2002