Enlarge 1 / 1
Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) China
Reclining dog [Watch dog] 206 BCE-220 CE Place made: China
Materials & Technique: sculptures, earthenware, earthenware; glazed
Dimensions: 31.0 h x 36.0 w x 21.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of TT Tsui, Hong Kong, through the National Gallery of Australia Foundation 1995
Accession No: NGA 95.581

The presence of dogs in Chinese burial sites can be traced back to the Neolithic period, when they were commonly buried alongside their owners. Later, dogs became popular as tomb figurines, indicating their value as domestic animals and perhaps also alluding to their protective role as watchdogs. This dog, with its elongated neck and lively expression, displays the dynamic and abstracted qualities favoured during the Han dynasty. The amber glaze accentuates the animal’s simple, angular lines.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label