Current Location: Home - Collections - Stone Carving
Pictorial Stone Depicting “Warding off the Evil Spirits and Ascending to the Godhood”
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2023.02.01 11:10:10

Period: Han dynasty (206 B.C-220 A.D)
Measurements: L.174 cm, W.45.5 cm,
Provenance: Previous collection

Made of gray limestone, the stone slab was an intact rectangular component of the tomb gate, and it was carved in low relief, which depicts two tigers on the left, with their mouth open, tails raised, seemingly in a pouncing position, with a bear in between; on the right side, one beast huddled up, one dragon turns its head backward, above which is a feathered man. The spaces of the scene were adorned with clouds.

The theme of “warding off the evil spirits and ascending to the godhood” on the pictorial stones was invariably comprised of feathered man, dragon, tiger, malicious beast, clouds, celestial grass, each has its own cultural connotations and related functions: the feathered man stands for the immortals, the dragon serves as the usher guiding the soul of the deceased to the paradise, the tiger can not only ward off the evil spirits but also guide the soul, while the malicious beast symbols the evil spirits which inflict harm on the soul. These elements on the scene collectively exemplify the concept “warding off the evil spirits before ascending to the godhood” in the Han dynasty, and they were carved on the tomb gate for the purpose of keeping off the demons and guiding the soul to the paradise, which demonstrate the deceased's yearning for enjoying the life of being an immortal.