Marble tiger

Accession No. R014450_2
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.13.4 cm; L.29.8 cm; W.10.1 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 darker shade of grey than R014450_1, and has irregular brown spots and stripes. The tiger is rectangular in overall shape, and was carved in a crouched position, with its teeth gnashing. The front of the tiger is decorated with deep carved lines, while those on the sides are shallow. Beside the jaws, on both sides, there are curved lines depicting cheeks. The tiger also has engraved “臣” character shaped eyes and a nose composed of two swirl patterns. Behind the eyes, the two rectangular ears are upright and separated by a groove. The body of the tiger is blocky with a concave back, while on the sides shallow engraved lines 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 from the 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.