Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The Xibeigang Tigers

#Chinesesculpture #sculpture #tigers  #marble #xibeigang #shang

This marble slab carved with two tigers is from a ancient royal tomb not a temple. The use of marble is unusual for Chinese sculpture.

It does illustrate an abiding tendency for Chinese sculptures to work in a raised relief style even when doing large monumental works. One often gets the feeling looking at large chinese sculptures particularly some WEI dynasty pieces that the sculptors and stone masons were given a line sketch and told make this #3D for a tomb/ temple or however you would say that in Ancient China.

The sculptor was rendered the tiger in a stylised manner that reminds me of taotie masks on bronzes.

I wonder if they opted for marble because jade boulders of that size were not available but the rulers commissioning the tomb insisted on a pale color stone?

The trend of using marble didn't last for long. 

Carvers stonemasons and sculptors seem to be have preferred wood and jade and smaller stones until there was another sculpture revival in the WEI dynasty.

I suspect people who had the talent and skills and hand to eye co-ordination to be good carvers were put to use creating the fine details for the molds for casting bronzes for the courts or incising lines to inlay color on lacquer objects and of course shaping jade and other stones into pi discs!

However there are many noteworthy chinese sculptures which we will be taking a look at in the next series of posts.