An important Chinese gilt-bronze figure of a tiger
Late Warring States or early Western Han Dynasty (250 BC-200 BC)
The animal standing foursquare in a fierce position, its head held high, with open mouth showing its teeth, his eyes inlaid with turquoise, the sculpture with remains of gilding.
L. 12.5 cm
– R. Solaimani Gallery, London (2001)
– Collection Drs. Koos de Jong, Amsterdam
The date is confirmed by the results of the Oxford Authentication TL test no. C115n39. The authenticity of the corrosion and the turquoise-inlaid eyes have been tested in the Analytical Chemistry Laboratories, Dept. of Earth Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Although the function of these kind of objects is still under debate, it is generally accepted that they were used in tombs as weights for garments. In a set consisting of four weights, the tiger is a symbol for the West, the dragon for the East, the red bird for the South and the turtle encircled by a snake for the North.