This gilded bronze bear with an expressive face is distinguished by its size, exceptional for a piece of ancient Chinese goldsmithery. If it is certainly a usual part, its function remains difficult to determine. However, the presence of a horizontal tenon on the back of the piece suggests that the bear served as a support for a relatively large object, such as a screen.

Associated with immortality, the figure of the bear is a characteristic element of the decorative vocabulary used in the funerary furniture of the Han period. The appearance of this motif corresponds to the reign of Emperor Han Wudi (140-87 BC). From that time, this animal motif was attached to the function of support, as evidenced by the famous tripod cauldron with bear-shaped feet found in the tomb of Prince Liu Sheng discovered in Mancheng in 1968.

Cartel clock
Western Han Dynasty (206 BC–9)
Gilded bronze
H.18 cm x W.13,3 cm x D.10,5 cm
CM 2011-1

Gift of the Society of Friends of the Cernuschi Museum as part of a subscription, with the participation of the Antoni Laurent Foundation, Derains – Gharavi – Lazareff, Close Brothers, Comgest SA, Marceau Finance, Montpensier Finance, Sofinnova Partners and thirty amateurs.

 Photo credit :
© Paris Museums / Cernuschi Museum

Bear. Statuette in gilded bronze. Han (206 BC-220 AD)

Bear. Statuette in gilded bronze. Han (206 BC – 220 AD)



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