Fierce guardian figure standing on a bull (?)



Tang dynasty (618-906), About 720

In Buddhism, Lokapala are the Four Heavenly Kings who guard the four directions. They originated in India as benign earth spirits. However, as Buddhism made its way across the Silk Road they evolved into fierce warriors dressed in elaborate armor. They were a favorite subject matter for paintings and sculpture in the numerous Buddhist cave temples of Central Asia and China.

  • Titles Lokapala (Proper)
  • Artist China
  • Medium painted earthenware
  • Dimensions 17 3/4 x 6 x 6 3/4 in. (45.1 x 15.2 x 17.1 cm)
  • Credit Line Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Breece III, 2008.117
  • Work Type sculpture
  • Classification Sculpture