Chinese Guardian Figure Bookends from The Met Museum


These bookends take their design from a pair of imposing stone figures that stand guard at The Met. Created in the fifth century (Six Dynasties period, 220-589), these fierce hybrid creatures, with bulging eyes and wide-open jaws, have a lion’s head and body adorned with decorative wings. Sometimes called chimeras, such crouching winged figures ( bixie ) are akin to mythical creatures such as the dragon and phoenix, which date to Chinese antiquity. Such guardians are considered powerful protectors that can keep away evil spirits and also safeguard life and wealth. Contemporary practitioners of feng shui place the figures in the most auspicious positions to harness their beneficial powers. Our striking bookends were reproduced with a combination of three- dimensional imaging and traditional sculpture techniques.

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