Marble tiger

Accession No. R014450_1
Period Shang Dynasty
Material Stone
Findspot Royal Tomb No. 1500 Hsi-pei-kang, Yin-xu Site
Geographic Location Hou-Chia-Chuang village, Anyang, Honan province, China
Dimension H.13.2 cm; L.30 cm; W.10.4 cm


The pair of tiger sculptures were discovered on the south ramp of Tomb No. 1500, along with dragons and tigers in pairs. They were arranged in an orderly fashion with the largest dragons at the front, the buffalos in the middle, and the smallest tigers at the end. Except for a slight shift caused by the rammed earth filling, they were not disturbed until being unearthed. This tiger has a lighter shade of grey than R014450_2. Brown stripes can be seen on the tail and the right bottom of the tiger. The tiger is rectangular in overall shape, and was carved in a crouched position, with its teeth gnashing. It has engraved “臣” character shaped eyes, a rising oval nose, and a pair of upright rectangular ears that sit behind the eyes. A gap can be found between the two ears. The body of the tiger is blocky with a concave back, while shallow engraved lines on the sides depict the shape of muscley limbs and toes. A chunky upcurved tail is attached to the raising buttock of the tiger. Grooves can be seen on the bottom side of the sculpture. Drastically different fromthe elaborate marble animal sculptures from Tomb No. 1001, this marble tiger is in a simplistic style in shape and decoration, shallowly engraved and with obvious sanding marks.