Mythical Beasts

Showing 1–12 of 46 results

  • Antique Agricultural Deity and Spring Ox, China


    To pay homage and respect to one’s ancestors, Chinese families commissioned images to protect family members, and in some instances, their domestic and farm animals as seen in this exceptional and rare carving.  Intricately modeled and deeply carved from one piece of wood, it depicts two distinct juxtaposed images. On the top is a Taoist official in typical official attire holding a hu and on bottom is the “Spring Ox” accompanied by the “Herd Box”, who together perform an ancient agricultural rituals at the end of each winter to wake the earth up so that spring can arrive This is an exceptional and rare statue with considerable history and iconographic significance.


  • Antique Animal Shaped Wood Coconut Cutter, Thailand


    This antique coconut grater is a very practical multi-use creation designed to cut, grate, shave, husk and shred coconuts and large fruits and vegetables. Some were carved as crouching rabbits, but others like this were realistic renderings of small mammals. Its decorative appeal includes lovely 6-petal flowers above its four legs and elegantly curved and metal piece extending from its mouth. With its warm and rustic feel, it would be a unique decorative addition to any kitchen and an interesting conversational piece.

  • Antique Brass Nandi, India


    This finely cast antique recumbent miniature statue with finely articulated features portrays Nandi decorated with jewels and sitting recumbent on a high-tiered throne.  Waiting to serve his Lord Shiva and kneeling in reverence and worship, Nandi is a symbol of purity and strength. Small figurines like this were placed on home shrines with other deities and items of significance to the family. Made using lost wax casting method whose mold is destroyed after use, it is a one-of-a-kind piece in very good condition with casting and plating flaws in the rear and a surface scratch and minor plating loss on the back left side.


  • Antique Bronze/Brass Nandi, South India


    This small antique brass Nandi is well-proportioned, exquisitely handcrafted and has a wonderfully aged patina. He sits recumbent on a raised rectangular platform. Delicately incised with decorative details delineating the head, neck, snout and body, his right leg and tail are sinuous, graceful ornaments rather than defining features. His head is at a 45-degree with lyrically curved horns in contrast to most versions with horns extending backwards. This Nandi is based on a South Indian cow whose humpback is emphasized here by two parallel lines covering it as if is part of a saddle or another ornament feature.

  • Antique Buddha as an Infant Standing on a Lion, China


    This rare carving of the infant Buddha with well defined features is clearly a provincial rendering that uniquely departs from traditional renderings. He holds a monk’s begging bowl as he points to the heavens and he stands on a lion’s head rather than a lotus, demonstrating that Shakyamuni Buddha is the lion of the Shakya clan. Given its small size, it was probably displayed on a home altar.


  • Antique Glazed Garden Stool, Coin/Taotie Designs, China


    Fashioned in a traditional drum/barrel shape, this unusual and ornately decorated antique garden stool is covered with auspicious symbols, and the positive energy from them is believed to be absorbed by the lucky individual who sits on them. Highlighted with pierced decorations and circular reliefs the upper borders of the body of this beautiful stoneware stool is covered with four bands of apple green, white, brown and cobalt blue – an expensive and infrequently used pigment.  The bottom portion is covered in a mustard yellow glaze with pierced and relief images of double coins, tao tieh, and florals.


  • Antique Guanyin on a Mythical Hǒu, China


    This remarkable and enchanting figurine is Guanyin on her mount, the Hǒu. Although the Hǒu is often a compilation of 10 animals, here it resembles a Buddhist lion with its open roaring mouth displaying its fangs, a beard, a bushy tail, deer horns and fish scales covering its body The round orb in its mouth representing a pearl can be rubbed for good luck. She is modestly dressed, hair is in a plain bun with a simple crown, and devoid of jewels. She sits on a delicately carved saddle with fringe edges, her left hand holding her belt and her right cradling a ruyi scepter.

  • Antique Hamsa Heddle Pulley, Burma/Myanmar


    This elegant heddle pulley is surmounted by a carved hamsa carved from a single piece of Burmese teak portrayed as a squat duck-like bird with a thick neck with deeply cut indentations, wide wings with well-articulated feathers. Its unusually large and broad tail from his rear to the top of its head provides a curved device to help the flow of the string in weaving. Below the feet are two heart-shaped panels with carved borders and a hole to connect them, hide the moving thimble and provide a more artistic feel. The piece is in very good condition and is wonderfully weathered with minor losses, and a fine patina covers its original painted surface.

  • Antique Hindu Garuda Prayer Bell, India


    This Hindu prayer bell was likely placed on a home or temple altar and in daily puja rituals. This simple yet elegant bell has a smooth and undecorated body with only incised parallel rings circling plain surfaces and is topped by a pair of Garudas sheltered by a hood of Nagas. Garuda, the mythical winged bird that is Vishnu’s mount, and Naga, a seven-headed hooded serpent, are natural enemies and when they are represented together, they symbolizes  peace, a very appropriate adornment for the tranquility and serenity elicited by the pleasing sounds of a prayer bell.



    Martin Lerner an Steven Kossak, The Lotus Transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian Art from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Harry Abrams, New York, 1991.


  • Antique Hindu Peacock Oil Lamp, India


    This brass oil lamp topped by peacock sitting high on a thin mount with decorative flared thin coils on a spiral base was used for Hindu prayer rituals (puja) performed in the home or at temples and for devotional worship. The surface of this simple elegant object provides a contrast between decorative motifs and unarticulated areas to emphasize the large peacock’s long head, plump body and tail form. Above the peacock whose body serves as the reservoir for oil is a smaller one that is decorated with striated lines. This fine lost wax lamp with a soft patina from age is a one-of-a-kind piece that can’t be copied as the mould is destroyed after use. Often used in Hindu religious sculptures, peacocks have a strong religious tradition and represent harmony, joy and beauty as well as the time cycle.


  • Antique Lacquer and Gilt Pair of Fu Lions, China


    Each of this whimsical gold and red-burgundy lacquered pair of male fu lions sits erect on a high pedestal heads thrown back with flaring ears and  bulging eyes, decorative stylized manes and a small bushy tail. Their spirituality is displayed by the pair silently emitting the blessed mantra “aum”: the open mouthed lion forming an “au,” and the other completing it with a closed mouth to form “mmm.” The workmanship on these pieces is masterful, although rustic and provincial, and they are rare with their Buddhist symbolism and because most pairs of carved fu lions were lost during China’s modernization.



  • Antique Lacquered Fu Lion Candle Holder Pair, China


    This antique fu lion pair with candle holders arising from their backs look like they sprung from the mind of a Disney artist – they’re whimsical, have exaggerated features, possess a modicum of power, and command our attention while making us smile. In Buddhist traditions, fu lions were more friendly than fierce, with open mouths displaying teeth in a fanciful almost grinning pose. Following artistic traditions: they sit with forefeet on the ground, have thin bodies with rows of hair, a three-part tail, and are covered with auspicious reds and gilt. This endearing, fanciful, quirky, and delightful additions to any environment.


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