- THE COLLECTION
- THE SPIRIT OF THE GALLERY
Dog figurine in an orangey terracotta. Moulded representation of a dog standing on all fours with a spiral tail. The head is expressive and it wears a harnessed collar indicating its domestication. Traces of earth from the excavation. Great state of preservation, some ancient restorations probable. Ancient China, Han dynasty (208 B.C. – A.D. 220).
This dog is of the Chinese Sharpei breed, commonly large and used as guard dogs. The Chinese have always revered the dogs that have served for hunting for food, they have been palace guards and were also given as a gift to the emperors. When it first appeared as a pictograph under the Shang dynasty it was referring to a dog officer. It is an ancient tradition in China for dogs to be buried along with their masters and mistresses to guide them into the afterlife. The dog is also an astrological sign which embodies the virtues of loyalty, friendship and longevity. For the Chinese, the dog should be brave and sometimes a thief. Contrary to the western belief, the Chinese do not eat their dogs, however, a breed commonly called the « yellow dog » is exclusively raised for its meat.