A Chinese figure of Pixiu. Kangxi period

Decorated in famille verte enamels on the biscuit, seated on a rectangular base, his head turned to the right, the leading paw protecting his baby, the mouth open and the head with a horn.

Period :
Kangxi (1662-1722)
Porcelain (biscuit)
4.92 in. / 3.14 in. / 6.69 in. (12.5 cm / 8 cm / 17 cm)
Reference :

Related works

For a very similar figure in the Mrs. Nellie Ionides collection, see Christie’s Paris, 13 june 2007, lot 188.

Two others figures are in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum (inventory number C.1075-1910 and C1076-1910).

Two others figures are also in the Musée d’Ennery (Paris).


Due to their similar appearances, the Pixiu, a Chinese mystical hybrid creature, are often confused with lions and qilin. Originally, they have the head of a Chinese dragon, the body of a lion, and historically support on their head either one antler (male), or two antlers (female).

They are considered powerful protectors or feng shui practitioners, and look like strong, winged lions. They are influential and auspicious creature for wealth, and they are said to have a voracious appetite for gold, silver and jewels.

Nowadays, the historical appearance of the legendary creature has been somehow lost, and the Pixiu are more commonly depicted with only one antler today.

Ancient Chinese descriptions, depictions and stone carvings of Pixiu from the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) show the male with a single antler and the female with two. As it is the case for the Chinese phoenix, the common current image represents a unique gender with one antler. The Pixiu have protruding eyes and sharp teeth.

Imperial Pixiu used during the Qing dynasty developed the physical characteristics of a fatter, more round body, indicating a stomach that could be loaded with unlimited amounts of gold and all forms of welsh and good fortune. They have the reputation of being fierce creatures.

The large fangs visible in their mouths are used to attack demons and evils spirits, draining their essence and converting it to wealth. Pixiu are also guards against disease caused by these evil spirits. It is written that the Pixiu patrol the Heavens to keep démons at bay and to protect their owners from all harm.

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