Whereas before, war was characterized as a civilized contest between aristocratic armies, during the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), war evolved into the chaotic conflict we know it as today. Kings and princes were replaced on the battlefield by infantries lead by military generals. Peasants were recruited to serve on the front lines. Warfare intensified, especially in terms of the duration of campaigns. New arms and armor were invented, including the halberd and crossbow. Chariots rode alongside archers outfitted in iron helmets and body armor. Defensive walls were erected in order to repel invaders. However, despite the turmoil of the times, the arts continued to thrive. Bronze casting was revolutionized by the introduction of the lost-wax technique, while the alterations of kiln structures enabled new firing techniques that resulted in fully developed glazes.
This anthropomorphic representation of a guardian beast
conveys the embodiment of prowess and valor during the internecine war period of
early China. As it lunges backward
on its hind legs to amass strength, the animal roars ferociously intimidating us
with its raised paw as if it were to tear an enemy into shreds with one swoop of
its mighty foreleg. The chest is muscular and wide, its forelegs winged, and
paws clawed revealing its awesome composition of the best attributes of the four
classes of beasts. Lips curled
back, it flashes its long fangs and flares its nostrils.
Detailed eyebrows accentuate its bulging eyes that are said to have
extraordinary vision to "see evil."
The snout is flat and horns are tapered to its forehead.
These fabulous creatures of West Asian inspiration
often stood guard at royal mausoleums, performing an evil-averting function.
They were also thought to serve as righteous guardians of justice and order.