Photo: Paul Macapia


late 3rd century B.C. - early 3rd century A.D.

Symmetrical stone doors such as these were installed in tombs. The three main motifs on the doors are a bird, a fish, and an animal mask with a knocking ring. Similar tomb doors have been excavated from Shaanxi—which had a dragon in place of the fish—and from Luoyang, with a tiger featured on an example found there. Although these variations are not consistent with the four directional animals, the motifs probably symbolized agents that facilitated the deceased’s journey in his/her afterlife.

49 x 21 3/4 x 2 in. (124.46 x 55.25 x 5.08 cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Provenance: Yamanaka & Co., Inc, United States, to 1942; [liquidation sale by Alien Property Custodian, Yamanaka & Co., Inc., 1943, lot 395]; [Jan W.A. Kleijkamp]; purchased from Kleijkamp by Seattle Art Museum, 1945
Photo: Paul Macapia
Not currently on view

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