Han Dynasty Terracotta Figurine Holding an Infant
An ancient Chinese Han Dynasty hollow-moulded terracotta figurine of seated figure, portrayed holding a swaddled infant. They are depicted wearing a richly draped robe with a red upper garment, featuring elbow-length sleeves and a black scarf tied in front. Their hair is gathered into a topknot coiffure and facial features are rendered delicately, in a naturalistic manner, with moulded ears, nose, mouth and elongated eyes. The figurine is enriched with detailed pleats to the scarf, robe and swaddle, showing the textures of the fabrics. They hold the swaddled infant on their right knee, one arm placed protectively behind the baby’s head and the other at their feet.
Circa 206 BC - 220 ADPeriod:
The C. Roger Moss OBE collection. The late C. Roger Moss OBE was a renowned art collector who, throughout the years, thanks to his determination and enthusiasm, was able to create an outstanding collection of artworks, most prominently from China and the Orient, but also from other cultures.Condition:
Fine condition. Some earthly encrustations to the surface. Traces of the original pigmentation are still visible on the figure’s hair and garments. Repair to the neck.
In Ancient China, terracotta unglazed and low-fired glazed statuettes of animals and human figures, known in Chinese as mingqi (冥器), would have been placed in the deceased’s tomb to ensure companionship and service in the afterlife. The art of the Han Dynasty is largely decorative, a shift away from the functional, ritualistic art of the previous Qin Dynasty. Mingqi were usually modelled as an intimation of either common objects that once played a vital role in Han Dynasty domestic life, or as zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures that were closely related to the deceased when they were alive. Terracotta figures of court attendants, such as this fine example, were made for the service and entertainment of the owner, ensuring that their journey in the underworld was a happy one.
To learn about Han statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.