We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Tomb tile with decoration of a man and tiger

5th century-6th century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    Tomb tile (Azure Dragon of the East decoration)
    Place where the work was made
    5th century-6th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    earthenware, unglazed
    15.6 x 40.3 x 2.1 cm (irreg.)
    Gift of Mr Sydney Cooper 1962
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    A 'Yu Ren' (feathered man) with a pair of wings and large ears beckons a running dragon with split deer-like antlers, baring its teeth and fixing its gaze on the ladle held in the man's left hand. This brick is an example of tomb decorations depicting Daoist themes of immortality that began during the Warring States period (475 -221 BC) and remained very popular in burial practices until the 6th century AD. The dragon motif not only indicates the direction of East, but also serves as auspicious animal with its power to suppress evil and assist the deceased to reach paradise.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, January 2012

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 5 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

    • Mr V V W Fretwell, Mr L G Harrison, Ivan McMeekin and J. Hepburn Myrtle (Compilators), Chinese ceramics, Sydney, 1965, 18. cat.no. 10

    • Jackie Menzies, Early Chinese Art, Sydney, 1983, (illus.) not paginated. cat.no.XXII. See 'Further Information' for text.