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Pictorial Stone with White Tiger Constellation
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2022.03.17 16:01:59

Measurements: Length 138 cm, Height 60 cm
Period: Han dynasty (202 BC--220 CE)
Provenance: Transference upon the governmental notice

The white tiger was carved in the galloping posture, with raised head and tail, the adjacent nine stars symbolize the constellation, the white tiger of the west, the blank spaces were carved with clouds.

White Tiger is one of the Four Spirits, which is also known as Four Deities, Four Gongs, presently, they are specifically known as the Azure Dragon, White Tiger, Vermilion Bird, Black Tortoise. The origin of the Four Spirits related to the prehistoric worship of the ancients. In Han dynasty, the Four Spirits prevailed on the pictorial stones, those unearthed from the Nanyang mainly bear three cultural contents: astronomy, exorcism, ascension to the godhood. The present object was just created for recording and displaying the astronomy.

Thanks to the gradual stability of the society, the scientific technology made progresses, the ability of environmental monitoring and astronomical recording gradually improved, and integrated with the traditional ideology of “Four Spirits”, also continued to be advanced, which resulted in numerous astronomical murals and pictorial stones were created for burials.

Being a part of the Chu state, the carving styles of the pictorial stones from Nanyang naturally represent the unique romanticism and idealism of the Chu culture.