Henan Museum
Pictorial Stone with Dancing Bears
Edit: Acf
Time: 2023-09-18 16:55:58
Period: Han dynasty (202 B.C.-220 A.D.)
Provenance: Han tomb at Cuocheng of Yongcheng, Shangqiu, 1973
Measurements: W. 47 cm, L. 237 cm

Of a slab form, carved with 7 dancing bears, and two black dragons which are looking backward, they were animatedly and realistically carved. The upper part of the scene was adorned orderly from the top to bottom with three layers of designs, respectively, drapery swag, waves, and lozenges.

Pictorial stones (bricks) were decorative construction components embedded in the murals of the tomb chambers in ancient times, they were mostly made by mould impressing to demonstrate the images, hence they had the dual features of sculpture and painting. In Henan province, those uncovered from Nanyang and Shangqiu are the most representative, the extensive themes covered the myths of remote antiquity, historical stories, secular life, astronomy, auspicious beasts and birds, etc., they demonstrated a pictorial social history of the Han dynasty.