Tomb guardian figure

Historical period(s)
Eastern Zhou dynasty, ca. 4th century BCE
Wood, pigment, and deer antler
H x W x D (assembled): 57.5 x 27.5 x 30.8 cm (22 5/8 x 10 13/16 x 12 1/8 in)
China, Middle Yangtze River valley, Hunan province
Credit Line
Gift of Thomas Colville in honor of Jenny So
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, deer, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), funerary, tomb guardian

From 1936-37
John Hadley Cox (1913-2005), acquired in Changsha, Hunan province, China. [1]

To 1987
Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York, New York. [2]

From 1987 to 1994
Estate of Arthur M. Sackler. [3]

Sale, New York, Christie’s, Important Chinese Works of Art from The Arthur M. Sackler Collections, December 1, 1994, Sale #8064, lot 159: “A Rare Painted Wood Earth Spirit.” [4]

From 1994
Thomas Colville, New Haven, Connecticut, purchased at Sale, Christie’s, New York, Important Chinese Works of Art from The Arthur M. Sackler Collections, December 1, 1994, Sale #8064, lot 159. [5]

From 2000
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Thomas Colville, New Haven, Connecticut. [6]


[1] See Curatorial Remark 2 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

[4] See Christie’s, New York auction catalogue of Dec. 1, 1994, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[5] See note 1.

[6] See Gift Receipt, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Thomas L. Colville
Christie's (New York)
The Arthur M. Sackler Collections Trust
John Hadley Cox 1913-2005
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987

Published References
  • Important Chinese Works of Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Thursday, December 1, 1994. New York, 1994. 159, 164-165.
  • Sueji Umehara. Some strange wooden animal figures reported to have been excavated at Ch'angsha. no. 21 Kyoto. pls. 1-3, fig. 1.
  • Mizuno Seiichi. Some Wooden Figures from Ch'angsha, Hunan. Kyoto. fig. 7.
  • Chiang Yuen Yi. Ch'ang-sha: The Ch'u Tribe and Its Art. vol. 2, Shanghai. pls. X:A-F, XII: A,C.
  • Alfred Salmony. Antler and Tongue: An Essay on Ancient Chinese Symbolism and Its Implications. vol. 13 Washington and Zurich, 1954. figs. 9-10.
  • John Hadley Cox. An Exhibition of Chinese Antiquities from Ch'ang-sha, lent by John Hadley Cox. Exh. cat. Meriden, Connecticut, 1939. fig. 1.
  • Estelle Nikles van Osselt, Marie Orsi. An Ode To the Ancestors: Two Chu Culture Artefacts. Geneva, Switzerland, March 2020. p. 186, fig. 6.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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