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Chinese Animal Statues

Chinese artisans have long been masters of carving beautiful and intricate sculptures of bronze, ivory, timber, and stone. Starting from the Neolithic Period, Chinese sculptures emerged alongside pottery as a product of religion and aesthetically morphed over the course of history to embody different cultural beliefs.

While early Chinese sculptures from the Neolithic Period may have been artist attempts to recreate their surroundings, animal statues tend to hold symbolic meanings with have remained traditionally consistent over time. A pair of ducks, for example, would represent a harmonious marriage. Frogs, another very common motif, are associated with moisture and are therefore depicted in order to summon rainwater.

Animal statues can often stand alone to bring fortune, health, and protection to a household, structure, or person. Other times, combinations of materials and subject matter lead to new meanings for Chinese animal statues. Jade, compact and hard, can represent surety in Chinese tradition. The tortoise, believed to live for thousands of years, is representative of longevity. Combined, a jade sculpture of a tortoise has been thought to grant its owner long life.


Quick Facts

  • Whether to hold another object, to bring luck to a home, or even to inspire an army, Chinese animal sculptures were created with a distinct purpose
  • Excavated figures of sheep, fish, birds, and more have been dated to as far back as 4000 to 5000 B.C.
  • Hollowed out animal forms were also created during this time, most likely for rituals. Early Chinese sculptures were almost exclusively used during burials

Recommended Items at Auction

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Chinese Eagle Mount
Dec 01, 10:00 AM GMT
Chinese Eagle Mount
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £200- £300
£453 Bids
A Finely Carved White Jade Pexiu Beast, 2 1/8" x 1 3/4" W
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
A Finely Carved White Jade Pexiu Beast, 2 1/8" x 1 3/4" W
by Washingtonian Auction
Est: $200- $300
$502 Bids
CHINESE JADE MYTHICAL ANIMAL
Nov 30, 11:30 AM EST
CHINESE JADE MYTHICAL ANIMAL
by Latair Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$1002 Bids
A FINE CARVED LIGHT GREEN JADE DUCK
Dec 06, 9:30 AM CET
A FINE CARVED LIGHT GREEN JADE DUCK
by Nagel Auction
Est: €900- €1,000
€9001 Bid
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夏朝 Certified Chinese jade Phoenix bird, Xia dynasty (2070 -1600BC)
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
夏朝 Certified Chinese jade Phoenix bird, Xia dynasty (2070 -1600BC)
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $5,000- $10,000
$1,2001 Bid
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Chinese antique carved bull horn: 4 monkeys & fruit
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Chinese antique carved bull horn: 4 monkeys & fruit
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $2,500- $5,000
$8001 Bid
Eight pieces of jade from a gentleman's collection
Nov 30, 1:00 PM GMT
Eight pieces of jade from a gentleman's collection
by Sloane Street Auctions
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1,4001 Bid
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Chinese antique Ordos style bronze camel, Bronze Age
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Chinese antique Ordos style bronze camel, Bronze Age
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $2,000- $5,000
$8001 Bid
A RARE AND HEAVY-CAST BRONZE MODEL OF A LION
Dec 06, 9:30 AM CET
A RARE AND HEAVY-CAST BRONZE MODEL OF A LION
by Nagel Auction
Est: €3,000- €5,000
€3,0001 Bid
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Certified Chinese grey jade tiger, W. Zhou (1122-771BC)
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Certified Chinese grey jade tiger, W. Zhou (1122-771BC)
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $12,000- $90,000
$4,0001 Bid
A CARVED JADE MYTHICAL BEAST
Dec 04, 9:30 AM EST
A CARVED JADE MYTHICAL BEAST
by Berkeley Auction Gallery
Est: $3,000- $4,000
$6001 Bid
A Chinese Jade Mythical Creature
Dec 06, 6:00 PM AWST
A Chinese Jade Mythical Creature
by McKenzies Auctioneers
Est: AUD500- AUD1,000
AUD4001 Bid
FOUR JADE AND STONE CARVINGS OF ANIMALS
Dec 07, 9:30 AM CET
FOUR JADE AND STONE CARVINGS OF ANIMALS
by Nagel Auction
Est: €800- €1,200
€8001 Bid
THREE JADE CARVINGS OF CATS AND BATS
Dec 07, 9:30 AM CET
THREE JADE CARVINGS OF CATS AND BATS
by Nagel Auction
Est: €500- €800
€5001 Bid
SIX SMALL JADE AND SOAPSTONE CARVINGS OF CATS, GOLDFISH AND A SEATED LUOHAN
Dec 07, 9:30 AM CET
SIX SMALL JADE AND SOAPSTONE CARVINGS OF CATS, GOLDFISH AND A SEATED LUOHAN
by Nagel Auction
Est: €500- €800
€5001 Bid
Old Chinese Jade Dog with Bat on the back, 3" long
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
Old Chinese Jade Dog with Bat on the back, 3" long
by Washingtonian Auction
Est: $300- $500
$1001 Bid
A FINE CLOISONNE ENAMEL MYTHICAL BEAST
Dec 04, 9:30 AM EST
A FINE CLOISONNE ENAMEL MYTHICAL BEAST
by Berkeley Auction Gallery
Est: $5,000- $7,000
$1,0001 Bid
Oil on Canvas Signed Attr. to Grigory Gluckmann
Nov 30, 11:30 AM EST
Oil on Canvas Signed Attr. to Grigory Gluckmann
by Latair Auctions
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1001 Bid
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CHINESE CARVED JADE BAT 19th Century Length 2.5".
Dec 07, 9:30 AM EST
CHINESE CARVED JADE BAT 19th Century Length 2.5".
by Eldred's
Est: $250- $350
$1251 Bid
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CACHET EN STÉATITE SCULPTÉE Chine, dynastie Qing (1644-1911)
Dec 06, 2:00 PM CET
CACHET EN STÉATITE SCULPTÉE Chine, dynastie Qing (1644-1911)
by Artcurial
Est: €200- €300
€2001 Bid
A CELADON JADE ‘TURTLEDOVE’ FINIAL, JIU, HAN DYNASTY
Dec 10, 11:00 AM CET
A CELADON JADE ‘TURTLEDOVE’ FINIAL, JIU, HAN DYNASTY
by Galerie Zacke
Est: €2,000- €4,000
€2,0001 Bid
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Two Chinese Han-style terracotta boar figures
Nov 30, 10:00 AM PST
Two Chinese Han-style terracotta boar figures
by John Moran Auctioneers
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
A Chinese White Jade Bear and Tiger Weighter Han Dynasty
Nov 30, 10:00 AM SGT
A Chinese White Jade Bear and Tiger Weighter Han Dynasty
by SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL AUCTION PTE LTD.
Est: $40,000- $60,000
$40,0001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Animal Statues


Merces Gallery LLC

Merces Gallery LLC

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Nagel Auction

Nagel Auction

Empire Auction House

Empire Auction House