Skip to main content
Lot 29
Eastern Han dynasty
20 March 2023, 08:30 EDT
New York

Sold for US$44,475 inc. premium

Own a similar item?

Submit your item online for a free auction estimate.

How to sell

Looking for a similar item?

Our Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art specialists can help you find a similar item at an auction or via a private sale.

Find your local specialist

Ask about this lot


Eastern Han dynasty
Thinly cast in openwork with raised lines on both sides to depict a mythical deity riding a winged tiger and flanked by two monkeys, a piece of long fur over his shoulders and tied at his waist, his chest bear, wearing a pair of scaled boots, the monkeys dressed in similar attire, the tiger shown in profile with striped markings, all supported by bracketed railing underneath, a square tab extended below for insert, covered overall with malachite and earth encrustations.
7 1/2in (19cm) high


東漢 青銅《伏羲收虎》搖錢樹頂牌

The bronze panel serves as the finial for a bronze 'money tree', and the central mythical figure may represent Fuxi, one of the Three Sovereigns established the Chinese civilization by introducing the use of fire and the rule of eight trigrams. Fuxi, tiger and monkey are all mythical gods closely associated with indigenous tribes in present day Southwestern China.

'Money tree' was an essential part of Eastern Han burial customs in the region, largely concentrated in today's Chengdu plains, Sichuan province. A typical 'money tree' consists of one bronze finial and four to six tiers of bronze branches below, fee-standing and supported by a pottery base. The branches are often decorated with abundance of 'coin' motifs - circular disc with a square aperture - hence the name 'money tree' (yao qian shu or qian shu) was assigned. The practice and ritual of 'money tree' remains unknown, but scholars have agreed that the complex iconography appeared as decorative motifs originated from ancient myth and regional shamanic tales.

Additional information