Stone mythical beast from 2,000 years ago

Updated: Jan 8, 2024 Print
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The stone bixie, dating back to the Eastern Han Dynasty, displays an impressive posture. [Photo/Official WeChat account of the Luoyang Museum]

During the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), sculptures of mythical beasts were set beside ancient buildings and mausoleums to safeguard them. This stone bixie is such a stone-carved beast.

Carved out of a single block of stone, the huge beast boasts a head resembling that of a lion, with a body akin to that of a tiger or leopard. With mouth open, the bixie shows a fierce gaze, adorned with two wings sprouting from its shoulders. It displays an imposing posture as it stands firmly on its four legs with its tail curved, as if ready to spring forth into flight, epitomizing the extravagant romanticism of Eastern Han sculpture.

Unearthed from the Youfang village, Luoyang, Henan province, in 1992, the stone bixie is a treasure in the permanent collection of the Luoyang Museum. Inspired by Western artistic themes, the sculpture reflects the fusion of foreign artistry with Chinese culture.

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