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The unusual ‘Unearthed’

Clark Institute swaps European paintings, sculptures for Far East antiquities

A zhenmushou or tomb guardian beast from the Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE) was excavated in 2009 at Fujiagou Village, Gansu Province, China. It is part of "Unearthed: Recent Archaeological Discoveries from Northern China" at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. (Image courtesy of the Clark Art Institute)
A zhenmushou or tomb guardian beast from the Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE) was excavated in 2009 at Fujiagou Village, Gansu Province, China. It is part of "Unearthed: Recent Archaeological Discoveries from Northern China" at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. (Image courtesy of the Clark Art Institute)
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Half-human, half-lion, this is a frightening sharp-toothed beast with fierce, bulging eyes and Medusa-like spikes on its head. More than a dozen centuries ago, this “zhenmushou,” or tomb guardian, was buried with the body of an aristocrat in northern China. In 2009, the 2-foot-tall earthenware figure was discovered by archaeologists. At the Clark Art Institute, for a few more months, dimmed lighting will protect this carved and painted monster, which dwelled in darkness beneath the ...

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