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Grave Guardian Beast (Zhenmu Shou)

A work made of wood with polychrome pigments and lacquer horns.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of wood with polychrome pigments and lacquer horns.


Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (480–221 B.C.), 4th/3rd century B.C.



About this artwork

Antlered creatures with long, protruding tongues are the most distinctive burial gifts that have been discovered in Chu tombs. “Antler and tongue” figures may have been used in shamanistic rituals or may represent local deities. Typically centered at the head of the coffin, perhaps to protect the deceased from evil, such grotesque images assume a variety of forms with single or double heads. The painted scrollwork on this example is unusually well preserved.


On View, Gallery 133


Arts of Asia


Grave Guardian Beast (Zhenmu Shou)


China (Artist's nationality)


400 BCE–201 BCE


Wood with polychrome pigments and lacquer horns


48.9 × 25.5 × 20 cm (19 1/4 × 10 1/16 × 7 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Florene M. Schoenborn

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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