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Xuan Tian Shangdi statue
MPE 78327
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The statue represents Xuan Tian Shangdi as Black Warrior: he wears a heavy armour and is associated with the tortoise and the snake. In this portrayal he is identified as the one who rules the northern sector of the 28 Lunar Mansions and the winter season. This splendid example of Ming bronze fusion shows different coats of lacquer, which testifies it was an object that was continuously used for worship.

History of the Object
Xuan Tian Shangdi, the Supreme Lord of Dark Heavens. He is possibly best known as the Northern Emperor, Bei Di, or True Warrior. He is a major, awesome, popular religious deity of an exorcist cult and is worshipped as one of the most powerful ministers of the Jade Emperor. In legend he is supposed to overcame the demonic forces and confine them to the depths of the Underworld, Fengdu. Over recent centuries he has become more a general protective God.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Bronze, lacquer 
Measurements
Width 61 cm. Height 72.5 cm.  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 14th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
14th Century - 17th Century; 1368 - 1644 (Ming period) 
Function
Religious 
Acquisition
Purchased from Arturo Cattaneo, 1908 
Copyright
©Soprintendenza al Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini, Roma 
Acknowledgements
Text: Nadia Fiussello Photo: Fabio Naccari, Giorgio Bronchi ©Soprintendenza al Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini, Roma 
Owner
Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini, Roma State property, Italy 
Museum
Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico "Luigi Pigorini" 
Credit line
 

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