<em>Mythical Figure</em>, 5th-3rd century B.C.E. Wood, horn, lacquer, and polychrome, assembled: 41 5/8 x 30 1/2 x 12 3/16 in.  (105.7 x 77.5 x 31.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Gisele Croes, purchase gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Black, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Dickes, Mr. and Mrs. Rohit Desai, and Brooklyn Museum Collection, 1999.20a-d. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1999.20a-d_SL3.jpg)

Mythical Figure

Medium: Wood, horn, lacquer, and polychrome

Geograhical Locations:

Dates:5th-3rd century B.C.E.

Dimensions: assembled: 41 5/8 x 30 1/2 x 12 3/16 in. (105.7 x 77.5 x 31.0 cm)


Museum Location: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)


Accession Number: 1999.20a-d

Image: 1999.20a-d_SL3.jpg,

Catalogue Description:
This figure is from the Chu culture, which is renowned for its remarkable lacquers. The Mythical Figure exemplifies the more sculptural emphasis on this tradition. Representing an imaginary animal, the work is also significant in regards to funerary practices of the Chu culture; the antlers, protruding tongue, and composite human-dragon features function to protect the deceased and connect the visible world with the realm of the spirits. In addition, the Chu lacquer tradition reflects enormous cross-influences between media. The ornament in red, brown, and black that decorates the Mythical Figure's surface reiterates the complex patterning of textiles and inlaid bronzes.

Brooklyn Museum