Lot 742. A superb carved white marble figure of a lion, Tang dynasty (AD 618-907); 6 3⁄4 in. (17 cm.) high, cloth box. Estimate USD 40,000 – USD 60,000. Price realised USD 75,600. © Christie's 2022
The powerfully carved beast is shown seated and facing forward and with front legs firmly planted on a rectangular plinth, the mouth open in a roar.
Provenance: Galaxie Art (B. K. Wong), Hong Kong, 25 November 1990.
Note: The lion is well represented in Buddhist art of the Tang dynasty, as 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.
A similarly-modeled, but slightly larger (7 1⁄8 in.), Tang dynasty lion from the James and Marilynn Alsdorf collection was sold in Sacred and Imperial: The James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, Part II, Christie’s New York, 24 September 2020, lot 908.
Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 25 march 2022