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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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20th Century Chinese Export Porcelain Seated Monkey
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
20th Century Chinese Export Porcelain Seated Monkey
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $80- $120
$357 Bids
Chinese Jade Indian Artifact Arrowhead
Mar 03, 1:00 PM CST
Chinese Jade Indian Artifact Arrowhead
by Mike Nichols Auctions
Est: $1,000- $20,000
$102 Bids
CHINESE HARDSTONE CARVING
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
CHINESE HARDSTONE CARVING
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $300
$1252 Bids
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Vintage Cloisonne Chinese Goose Figurines Metal 3”
Mar 07, 6:00 PM EST
Vintage Cloisonne Chinese Goose Figurines Metal 3”
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$22 Bids
(2) Chinese sancai glazed earthenware birds
Mar 08, 10:00 AM EST
(2) Chinese sancai glazed earthenware birds
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid
A Chinese carved white jade toggle, 18th century
Mar 15, 9:00 AM EDT
A Chinese carved white jade toggle, 18th century
by Oakridge Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $200
$1001 Bid
A Chinese sancai camel, Tang dynasty
Mar 15, 9:00 AM EDT
A Chinese sancai camel, Tang dynasty
by Oakridge Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $200
$1001 Bid
Fine Chinese Cloisonne OWL on Pedestal Stand
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Fine Chinese Cloisonne OWL on Pedestal Stand
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$201 Bid
Chinese Carved Jade Water Buffalo Figure
Mar 09, 9:00 AM PST
Chinese Carved Jade Water Buffalo Figure
by Abell Auction
Est: $700- $1,000
$3501 Bid
Pr Chinese Peking Glass Carvings. Modelled as Shishi Dogs. Red over clear glass. (L5.5cm each)
Mar 10, 11:00 AM AEDT
Pr Chinese Peking Glass Carvings. Modelled as Shishi Dogs. Red over clear glass. (L5.5cm each)
by Davidson Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD100
AUD401 Bid
A CHINESE CARVED LAPIS MYTHICAL BEAST BIXIU
Mar 03, 9:30 AM EST
A CHINESE CARVED LAPIS MYTHICAL BEAST BIXIU
by Berkeley Auction Gallery
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$4001 Bid
Chinese Carved Yellowish-Green Jade Frog Figure
Mar 09, 9:00 AM PST
Chinese Carved Yellowish-Green Jade Frog Figure
by Abell Auction
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5001 Bid
A FINE CHINESE BEAUTY PORCELAIN CARVING.
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
A FINE CHINESE BEAUTY PORCELAIN CARVING.
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $1,800- $4,000
$7501 Bid
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20th Century Chinese Carved Jade Bird Sculpture
Mar 13, 2:00 PM EDT
20th Century Chinese Carved Jade Bird Sculpture
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $300- $800
$301 Bid
ANTIQUE 19TH C CHINESE SCHOOL DEER HEAD SCULPTURE
Mar 16, 10:00 AM EDT
ANTIQUE 19TH C CHINESE SCHOOL DEER HEAD SCULPTURE
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid
A cloisonne parrot ornament,Qing Dynasty,China,Qing Dynasty,China
Mar 04, 8:00 AM EST
A cloisonne parrot ornament,Qing Dynasty,China,Qing Dynasty,China
by Hotspot Auctions
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$2001 Bid
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Paire de perroquets sur un tertre montagneux.
Mar 23, 2:30 PM CET
Paire de perroquets sur un tertre montagneux.
by Exper Antic
Est: €1,200- €1,400
€1,0001 Bid
Pair of Chinese Export Porcelain Ducks
Mar 12, 12:00 PM EDT
Pair of Chinese Export Porcelain Ducks
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $50- $500
$251 Bid
UNKNOWN ARTIST - Carving - Birds Among Blossoms 1
Mar 24, 1:00 PM CST
UNKNOWN ARTIST - Carving - Birds Among Blossoms 1
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $60- $70
$161 Bid
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Pair of Chinese Cloisonne Recumbent Goats.
Mar 10, 10:00 AM EST
Pair of Chinese Cloisonne Recumbent Goats.
by Clarke Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
UNKNOWN ARTIST - Duck Dish
Mar 24, 1:00 PM CST
UNKNOWN ARTIST - Duck Dish
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $45- $60
$181 Bid
A Chinese Silver Plate Turquoise & Coral Bird Figure
Mar 24, 11:00 AM AEDT
A Chinese Silver Plate Turquoise & Coral Bird Figure
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD40- AUD80
AUD201 Bid
A Framed Chinese Gilt Peacock Figure
Mar 17, 11:00 AM AEDT
A Framed Chinese Gilt Peacock Figure
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD40- AUD60
AUD201 Bid
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A Beautiful Carved Han Jade Kirin Statue
Mar 09, 1:30 PM EST
A Beautiful Carved Han Jade Kirin Statue
by Wensly Auctions
Est: $8,000- $12,000
$8000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Animal Statues


Merces Gallery LLC

Merces Gallery LLC

Annabel's Galleries Inc.

Annabel's Galleries Inc.

Wealthier Art & Auction

Wealthier Art & Auction

Treasure Art

Treasure Art