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T'ang Presents The Injured Bird to Goddess Athena

7 x 10 inch
March, 2001

T'ang, the founder of the Shang kingdom in north central China 1700 years before Christ, is seen here presenting an injured bird to Goddess Athena sitting on the stairs of a Shang temple.

The Shang kingdom (ca. 1700 - 1100 B.C.) is often referred to as the Shang Dynasty. The Shang people were hardly known for their nicety to animals, their massive use of animals (and prisoners of war) for ritual sacrifices inviting comparison with Mayan's ritual sacrifices of people. But its founder, T'ang, is recorded to have once advised a hunter to open three holes in the animal trap so that only those animals that were ordained by the Heaven to be captured in the trap would remain there, voluntarily not escaping through the holes. Such supposed and allegorical compassion of T'ang for living beings is sublimated here into a true instance of compassion revealing the good heart of Goddess Athena.

The Greek inscription goes: H Aqhnh... tou zwou qerapeuter kai

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