Because of their importance to agriculture, in many Asian countries the ox or water buffalo symbolizes springtime, harvest and fertility and to city dwellers and government officials, the water buffalo also represents a simple and idyllic life. In China the Spring Ox ((Niu Wang) is honored in the ancient spring ceremony the “Beating of the Spring Ox” in which a life size clay figure is beaten with sticks to usher n spring offerings to protect farmers and beasts from pests and disease. Protective carved images are carved onto ox carts in Burma where the ox is central to agricultural and other activities.

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  • 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 Ox-Cart Ornament, Burma/Myanmar


    Ox carts in Burma were often decorated with carved teak ornaments attached to the yoke crosspiece with a similar function as the figurehead prow on a ship: to guide and protect but with spiritual and magical powers to bestow good fortune and ward off malevolent spirits. This ornament  of a man moving up a hill is probably a Burmese nat, that was once brightly painted, is mounted on a wood and metal stand.

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