Tang Dynasty Court Lady Figurine


A finely sculpted terracotta Tang court lady presented standing in a relaxed and elegant stance. She is portrayed wearing a richly draped court robe that falls to her feet in heavy folds, emphasising the graceful sway of her plump body. Her left hand is concealed by the hem of her richly draped and decorated garment, whilst her left is left bare and is raised in an elegant gesture. Her face is sensitively moulded with full cheeks, a small, dimpled chin and a crisply carved mouth, nose and elongated eyes. Her cheeks are painted with light rouge-coloured pigment, rendering an attractive representation of rosy skin. Her hair is gathered into a characteristic court coiffure, featuring a top knot drawn-up high known as ‘fallen horse’ chignon. Her beautiful gown is pigmented in delicate light blue, red and yellow pigments, still bright and well retained on the surface. A thick sash sits underneath her chest, coloured brown. The figure is depicted standing on a rectangular flattened base, the upturned points of her elaborate shoes peeping out from the folds of her dress.

N.B. These items will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size.

This piece is accompanied by a positive Kotalla Laboratory thermoluminescence report and has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art: AIAD certificate number no.10864-178552.

Date: Circa AD 618 - 906
Period: Tang Dynasty
Provenance: From a West Country, UK, collection; formerly in a Hong Kong gallery, 1990s.
Condition: Extremely fine, complete and intact, with much of the original pigments still remain brightly visible to the surface.

In stock

The Tang Era is heralded as a golden age in Chinese history. It witnessed the prosperity of culture, economy, diplomacy and politics under a unified government. Stability within China led to an expansion of foreigners entering and living within the country, bringing with them their own cultural and social habits. With the introduction of different cultures, a new movement was ushered in. People were open to new ideas and beliefs, integrating and learning from new cultures. Normal class and social boundaries were dispelled with. Art was a particular genre that flourished with this new prosperity. Like other areas of the Chinese world, Tang art was influenced by the influx of new ideas and cultures.The emergence of the ‘Court Fat Lady’ as a popular image of Chinese identity first made its appearance under the Zhou Dynasty, which briefly interrupted the Tang Dynasty. Women were romanticised and heroised; they were liberated in all sense of the word. Previously, the taste for women, especially concubines, had steered towards slim and slight women. The new Tang Dynasty fashion preferred the more buxom figure. They were represented in art and poetry and became popular in the royal household. It is said that the most famous of Court lady, Yang Guifei, the consort of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712-756) set the fashion for ladies of ample forms. Clothing and fashions accommodated Yang’s more mature figure and for the first time, long, loose fitting robes with high necklines became court fashion, accompanied by elaborate hairstyles.

To discover more about Tang Dynasty ‘Fat Lady’ statuettes, please visit our relevant collection page: The Importance of the Fat Lady in Chinese Tang Art.

Weight 3800 g
Dimensions L 17 x W 17.3 x H 52 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

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