Tianlu (Tomb Guardian)

Eastern Han Dynasty, 25 AD - 220 AD
City Museum, Luoyang

Creatures such as this were set along an emperor's Spirit Path to guard the approach to his tomb. This guardian can be identified as a mythological tianlu by its elongated, lion-like body, wings, and horn. A very long tongue extends from the tianlu's open mouth to drape itself upon the creature's puffed-out chest.