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12. Heavenly King
Probably excavated in Luoyang, Henan Province
Tang dynasty, 618 - 906 CE
Earthenware with three-color, sancai, glaze
height 126 cm

Heavenly King

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.

National Museum of Chinese History, Beijing

Detail: body

Detail: head

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