Marble tigers

Accession No. R014450_1、R014450_2
Period Shang Dynasty
Material Stone
Findspot Royal Tomb No. 1500 Hsi-pei-kang, Yin-xu 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; H.13.4 cm; L.29.8 cm; W.10.1


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. The tigers are rectangular in overall shape, and were carved in a crouched position, with their teeth gnashing. They have engraved “臣” character shaped eyes and have a pair of upright rectangular ears resting behind the eyes. The body of the tigers are 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 each tiger. Grooves can be seen on the bottom side of each sculpture. Drastically different from the elaborate marble animal sculptures from Tomb No. 1001, the marble tigers are in a simplistic style in shape and decoration, shallowly engraved and with obvious sanding marks.