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The twelve Chinese Earthenware animal zodiac figures made popular during the Tang Dynasty show the head of an animal and the body of a human. There are a myriad of stories, myths and legends related to the animals represented in the Chinese zodiac, with little evidence as to when these animals first became prominent, although artifacts found dating to the Warring States (475 BC-221 AD) indicate the existence of these animals and their relationship to the Chinese lunsolar calendar.

Some scholars are of the opinion that the animals represented in Chinese calendar were introduced by merchants traveling from India into China via the Silk Road around about the time of the Buddha.

One version of the origins of the twelve animal figures in the Chinese zodiac is when the Buddha called together all the animals to protect and guard the year, only twelve answered his call, whereupon a race was organized in order to form a sequence in which one animal was assigned to one of the years of a twelve-yearly cycle.

Tang Style Chinese Earthenware Zodiac Figures
Chinese Tang Style Animal Zodiac Figures
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