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HOME : Chinese Art : Song Dynasty : Stone Sculpture of a Head
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Stone Sculpture of a Head - H.043
Origin: China
Circa: 960 AD to 1279 AD
Dimensions: 9.5" (24.1cm) high x 6.5" (16.5cm) wide
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Stone

Location: United States
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The menacing expression of this figure is magnified by a tensed browline, narrow inset eyes, flaring nostrils, and a pronounced beard and mouth. The exaggerated features are achieved through the technique of the sculptor, whose bold cuts into the stone enhance the three dimensionality and thus release the vitality of the subject. Stylistic changes in the portrayal of military men and protective deities are evidenced in this head as a result of the penchant toward civil life--the rounded face implies suppleness and the banded headdress with large floral motif in the front center suggests a trend toward blending the martial and civil traditions using Taoist and Confucian symbolism. The tacit association of stone with immortality created a situation in which only virtuous subjects, such as heroes and sages, were represented with serious restrictions on how their virtues could be portrayed. It is likely that this stone head once topped a goliath figure which either represented a historical personage memorialized in stone or a conventional martial image that belonged to a larger constellation of characters that aligned the spirit road. - (H.043)


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