This ox figurine with a human body and an animal head represents one of the twelve animals associated with the Chinese zodiac: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, chicken, dog, and pig. They symbolize the individual years of the Chinese twelve-year cycle and the twelve two-hour periods into which the Chinese divided the day. Animals were first used to signify the twelve-year cycle during the Warring States period (475-221 BCE). By the Sui (581-618) and Tang dynasties they were engraved on funerary steles and around the edges of epitaphs.
|Two quite distinctive ideals of female beauty appear in Tang tomb figurines. One is svelte, somewhat attenuated, with slim neck, high bosom, and tiny waist set off by a low-cut, Empire-style gown. The other is more voluptuous, matronly, and draped in a loose gown, like this earthenware figurine shown here. Whether these two types represent a difference over time or a difference between social classes, we do not know. Hardly a trace remains of the pigment that once detailed and embellished this figurine.|