A Study of The Animal Figures in The Tang Dynasty Tomb Murals

     Animal figure patterns are an important part of the ancient Chinese decoration. They originated at the sametimeas the pre-historic art. From the decorative patterns on the colored pottery utensils to thecast patterns on the bronzes; from the pottery figurines tothe rock paintings and stone carvings, animal figures have always been themain part. The techniques of drawing them and the styles in which they are designed have already come the important dating reference to the Chinese artifacts. In the Tang tomb murals that have been regarded as a very important part of the legacy of the Chinese fine arts, animal figures are certainly of the characteristics of that time.

     According to some statistics, in the forty some Tang tombs that have been excavated with murals in them, most of them have murals with animal figures on them. They range from the imagined animals and birds to the commonly seen animals; from the wild to the domesticated; from those used as transportation means to those helping in the. Production, and even some insects. The varieties, quantities, the drawing techniques and the contents are ailed of the high end in the animal figure paintings of the Chinese tomb murals.

    This paper gives statistics of, categorizes, analyzes and studies the animal figures in the Tang tomb murals as to their function, cultural contents, the styles and the techniques. It explains the art of the ancient Chinese murals developing from its cradle to the maturity; from mystery to real life.

by Cai Changlin