Measurements: Height 6.2 cm, Length 10 cm
Period: Shang dynasty (1600--1046 BCE)
Provenance: unearthed at the Erligang site, Zhengzhou in 1954
Molded with gray terracotta, the tiger has its front paws and snout on the ground, with mouth open, showing its teeth. There are holes on the mouth connected to abdomen.
As a typical Shang dynasty site dating back to 3,600 years ago, the Shang dynasty ruin of Zhengzhou, was firstly discovered at Erligang, the southeast suburb of Zhengzhou, where uncovered the remnants of early city wall, house, cellars, moats, burials, sacrificial pits, primitive workshops, and quite a lot of precious artifacts which were made of different materials such as bronze, stone nephrite, bone, clamshell, terracotta, etc., were discovered.
The sculptural art of the Shang dynasty falls into varied categories, which include plane relief or shallow engraving, semi-three-dimensional animal statue, and three-dimensional statue. The reliefs and the engravings are largely patterns on the objects, with the taotie, kui dragon, and thunder-cloud are the mostly seen. The semi-three-dimensional animal statues are normally made of terracotta, nephrite, stone, clamshell as the adorning accessories, such as the beast mask in the form of bird, fish, cicada, rabbit, and tiger, etc. Comparing with other sculptures made of bronze or stone, terracotta examples are small in the number. The present terracotta tiger from Ereligang is more realistic one.