An exceptional moulded terracotta figurative group, dating from the Chinese Tang Dynasty period. The funeral pottery group is composed of two mythical creatures, one carrying the other, with the top one bearing a small bodhisattva figure on its shoulder. The bottom creature is likely a Qilin, a chimeric type animal, with Dragon like features, antlers and eyes with thick eyelashes. It symbolizes good luck, protection, success and longevity. The other creature is a Diting, a divine mythical creature and the steed of bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha in Chinese Buddhism. The Diting combines features of many beasts in its body: the head of a tiger, the body of a dragon, the tail of a lion, a single horn like a unicorn and ears like a dog. A possible interpretation for its single horn is that the creature would receive information through it across the universe. In this group the Diting bears his master on its shoulder, securing him by also holding him with one of his fore legs and with the other one raised, as if holding the contents, possibly incense, of the hole on top of its head.
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Date: Circa 618-906 AD.
Period: Tang Dynasty