University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
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Object Number: C656
Current Location: China Gallery
Currently On Display
Provenience: China
Period: Northern Wei Dynasty
Date Made: 4th-5th Century
Early Date: 300
Late Date: 499
Height: 152.4cm
Length: 208.3cm
Width: 78.4cm
Credit Line:Purchased from C. T. Loo, 1927


One of a pair of colossal stone qilins (C656 and C657). Male. The qilin is a mythical animal primarily containing lion and dragon features. Qilin are often placed in pairs at the beginning of a pathway that leads to a burial mound. Depicted in a running motion, this qilin and its female counterpart demonstrate strength and power through emphasis on muscle. It was believed that they would enhance the dignity of the tomb, glorify the memory of the deceased and protect against evil spirits. This piece has one horn and a beard falling onto its chest. The legs, tail, and ears are broken and partly missing.

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Chinese Rotunda (1968)View Objects in Exhibition
Chinese Halls (1941 - 1966)View Objects in Exhibition


[Article] Till, Barry. 1980. Some Observations on Stone Winged Chimeras at Ancient Tomb Sites. Artibus Asiae. 42 (4): pp. 261-281. : Page/Fig./Plate: Fig. 14a,bView Objects cited in this Publication
[Book] Horne, Lee C. 1985. Introduction to the Collections of The University Museum. : Page/Fig./Plate: 59View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Jayne, Horace H. F. 1941. The Chinese Collections of The University Museum: A Handbook of the Principal Objects. The University Museum Bulletin. 9 (2-3) : Page/Fig./Plate: Fig. 3View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Jayne, Horace H. F. 1939. Chinese Art at the University Museum. Parnassus. 11 (1) : Page/Fig./Plate: IllustrationView Objects cited in this Publication
[Book] March, Benjamin. 1929. China and Japan in our Museums. : Page/Fig./Plate: 87View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Siren, Osvald. 1928. Winged Chimeras in Early Chinese Art. Eastern Art. Volume I (No. 2): 86-96. : Page/Fig./Plate: 86-96, Plates 9, 10View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Fernald, Helen E. 1927. Two Colossal Stone Chimeras from A Chinese Tomb. The Museum Journal. Volume XVIII (No. 2): 159-173. : Page/Fig./Plate: 159-173View Objects cited in this Publication

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