A pair of Chinese blanc de chine figures of Buddhist lions, early Kangxi (1662-1722).

The lions are shown seated on rectangular pedestals, each with a forepaw resting on a brocade ball, one with a cub rearing at her side, 30cm.

The glaze is of a brilliant grey/white appearance.

They appear in the 1688 Burghley Inventory: ‘My Lords Anty Roome … 2 wt Lyons’ are listed under the heading ‘China over ye Chimney.’ 

Lions were unknown in China, except as symbols of the Buddha’s majesty and dignity, and as here, they were usually fantastical and often shown with the Buddhist ‘wish-granting jewel’ under one forepaw.

They were also associated with peonies, known in China as ‘the king of flowers’, and these appear, together with prunus, on the moulded pedestals.


Related collections