Antique Song Tile of Lion Dance, China (4001BLE)


H: 7.25”  W: 11.5”  D: 1.75” | FREE SHIPPING

This animated brick tile depicts the traditional Chinese Lion Dance performed at Chinese New Year, weddings, other important events and to honor guests, bring prosperity, happiness, good luck and ward off evil spirits. During the Song Dynasty tiles adorned the wall of tombs as well as government and important buildings with depictions of celebrations, mythology and deities and often included mythical animals, plants, vegetation and other auspicious objects.


During the Song Dynasty earthenware unglazed mould made brick tiles were produced to be affixed on walls, doors and elsewhere in on walls of newly built private, religious and government structures. As China expanded its trade along the Silk Roads, foreign designs and images appeared in all forms of art, including tiles. When used as funerary decorations to wish the deceased comfort in the afterlife, they are examples of mingqi and part of ancestral honor. Subjects of brick tiles include celebrations and mythology and often had mythical animals, plants, vegetation and other auspicious objects. In this thin tile a traditional lion dance is placed inside an irregular yet attractively balanced frame enclosing two scared children on the left, a person behind the lion, and a fourth on the right with his hands in anjali mudra. Usually used as a religious sign of adoration or respect, it may be a fearful prayer that the “fierce lion” hurts no one. These dances are performed by two dancers in a lion’s head costume simulating the lion’s movements with the front performer controlling its head and back the hindquarters. The lion dance dating back two millennia is based on a folk tale about a lion demonstrating his power by repelling a monster who attacked a village. When the monster returned and the lion was not present, the villagers made a lion costume, danced and scared the monster away forever. The lion dance is performed at Chinese New Year to attract fu, prosperity and good luck for the coming year. As most ancient buildings containing these pieces used ancient traditional un-reinforced fired mud/brick construction, they were subject to disasters like earthquakes, floods, fires, and war so that few survived intact and often require repair and restoration. Originally covered with slip and polychrome this tile it somewhat eroded with normal surface wear, scuffs, nicks and abrasions, possible restorations on the right half, and burial residue. Nonetheless, it is in relatively good condition given its probable long burial. This is part of the VA Antique-Chinese-Ceramics-and-Pottery Collection.

Additional information

Dimensions 18 × 12 × 6 in
Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 7.25” W: 11.5” D: 1.75”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 18.41cm W: 29.21cm D: 4.44cm

Reference Number



Good, restorations/repairs, see desription

Shipping Box Size