(Lokapalas) are warrior guardians of Buddhist temples. They were introduced to
China in the mid-seventh century by a Cingalese Buddhist monk Pu Kung. Not unlike
the guardian Chimera, these figures soon became popular mortuary guardians in
the imperial tombs of Tang (618-906 A.D.). They are known as Heavenly Kings (Tien-wang),
guardians of the four directions that protect the world from attacks of evil spirits.
sancai (three-colored glaze) guardian is wearing a elaborate open wings bird shaped
helmet, an ornate suit of armor with elephant-headed shoulder guards, protective
leg armors and a pair of high boots. With his right hand raised in a clenching
fist, standing above a pedestal, the Dharmapala is seen trampling on a fanged
grisly little devil. Both these figures have large bulging eyes and menacing expressions.
The figure is a brilliant examples of Dharmapala sculpture established since the
Tang dynasty. The vibrant colors is created in two firings, a first bisque firing,
then a second firing after applying leaded glaze, which melts and combines with
a variety of minerals. In addition, the fine crack-lines on the surface are a
result of a third firing of a transparent glaze that shrinks during the cooling