Kneeling winged monster

Historical period(s)
Northern Qi dynasty, 550-577
H x W x D: 84.4 x 53.4 x 28 cm (33 1/4 x 21 x 11 in)
China, Hebei province, Fengfeng, northern Xiangtangshan, North Cave
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 17: Promise of Paradise
Sculpture, Stone

Buddhist sculpture

Buddhism, cave, China, demon, monster, Northern dynasties (386 - 581), Northern Qi dynasty (550 - 577), Period of Division (220 - 589), relief, temple

Originally located in the North Cave, northern Xiangtangshan, Hebei province, China [1]

From at least 1950 to 1953
C. T. Loo & Company, New York, from at least April 27, 1950 [2]

From 1953
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C. T. Loo & Company on July 10, 1953 [3]


[1] The removal of the sculpted figures and fragments from the Xiangtangshan caves began ca. 1909 at the time of political upheaval in China and continued throughout several decades, see, accessed on November 9, 2009. See also J. Keith Wilson and Daisy Yiyou Wang, "The Early-Twentieth-Century 'Discovery' of the Xiangtangshan Caves," in Katherine R. Tsiang et al., Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan, exh. cat. (Chicago: Smart Museum of Art; Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2010), pp. 106-129 and Katherine R. Tsiang and J. Keith Wilson, "Catalogue of Works in the Exhibition," in Katherine R. Tsiang et al., Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan, 2010, pp. 178-179, cat. no. 10 (ill.).

[2] See C. T. Loo's letter to Archibald Wenley, dated April 27, 1950, in which Loo discusses shipping the sculpture along with F1953.86 to the Freer Gallery, and "List of Objects Shipped to the Freer Gallery of Art", attached to the letter, copy in object file. See also Loo's stockcard no. NN: "Two stone sculptures, Demons," Frank Caro Archives, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, copy in object file.

[3] See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated July 10, 1953, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948


This pillar base in the shape of a guardian-demon originally belonged to the same cave-temple that F1953.86 was taken from in the early twentieth century. Probably this object was removed from China around the same time as the other one, in 1916, and when it surfaced on the art market in the 1950s, the Freer Gallery of Art purchased it. The angled base of this guardian-demon indicates that it was originally positioned at the lower corner of the central pillar in the cave, while F1953.86 was taken from a flat sidewall.

Published References
  • Chinese Art Society of America. Chinese Art Recently Acquired by American Museums. vol. 7. p. 85, fig. 11.
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 200-202.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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