QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)
Carved from a superb block of amber, the mythical beast is depicted crouching
with its single-horned head facing forward and its legs tucked under the
haunches. The tianlu 天祿 has stylised wings flanking its knobby spine which
extends into a curled tail.
The single horn on the dragon-like head and the winged body identify the mythical beast as a tianlu, the male equivalent of a bixie 辟邪. Both are protective deities which ward off bad spirits and attract wealth.
The translucent amber is of a bright reddish orange colour with traces of natural crazing. It is well-polished with a small fossilised inclusion.
A similar amber tianlu is published in the 北京文物精粹大系：工艺品卷 ( 上) Gems of Beijing Cultural Relics Series Works of Decorative Arts I, 1999, p. 230, Catalogue No. 245.
Edward T Chow Collection
Ashkenazi & Co. Ltd, San Francisco, Sold to a Private Collector in the 1990s