Three sheep

Sung dynasty (A.D. 960 - 1279)
Center Height: 4.3 cm, Length: 7.2 cm
Left Height: 3.7 cm, Length: 4.7 cm
Right Height: 3.4 cm; Length: 5.6 cm

The representation of "three sheep" in Chinese art has an auspicious meaning because the Chinese word for 'sheep' {yang) rhymes with the word for 'auspicious' (hsiang}; the number three implies a numerous quantity, so that three sheep imply "great good fortune." These three sheep are naturalistically carved with soft and smooth curves resting peacefully on a mountainous terrain provided by their wood stand. The soft lines and peaceful posture of these animals are characteristic of a later carving style that began in the Sung period.

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