Tang Dynasty ‘Fat Lady’ Terracotta Figurine

£ 3,250.00

A beautifully hollow-moulded ‘Fat Lady’ figurine, featuring distinctive characteristics of an imperial court lady of the Tang Dynasty. She is posed in an elegant and relaxed stance with her right hand raised to her chest, and her left hand holding a fan. She stands on a flattened base, dressed in a richly decorated long robe that falls to her feet in heavy folds, which emphasises her graceful figure. Her elaborate hairstyle terminates in a chignon that is slightly divided into two halves and frames her face, with its delicate facial features and pink-painted cheeks. The elongated eyes, pointed nose, dimpled chin and crisply carved mouth painted in red are distinctive features marking the unique aesthetic taste of the Tang Dynasty. Her heavily painted eyebrows are made out as low as the Chinese character eight (Ba).


Date: Circa AD 618-906
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Excellent condition. This piece has been thermoluminescence tested, no. 12CM160919, at Laboratory Kotalla.


The ‘Fat Lady’ was a popular figure of the Tang Dynasty, a period which played host to enormous social, political and economic changes, and introduced a great deal of prosperity. The origins of depictions of ‘Fat Ladies’, with their full figures, elaborate loose robes and stylised hair, have been traced back to the imperial concubine Yang Gui Fei ( AD 719-756), who was beleieved to be one of the four great beauties of the Tang Dynasty and the most favoured concubine of Xuanzong emperor ( AD 712-756). Their chubby cheeks and full-bodied silhouettes characterise them as ‘Fat Ladies’ and their clothing and make up is designed to highlight these features, considered desirable at the time. ‘Fat Ladies’ have always been regarded as a precious and important source in studying the developments of women’s costume and aesthetic changes in different stages of the Tang Dynasty, and Chinese history in general, due to their potrayal of a beauty ideal unique to this period.

To discover more about Tang statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.

Weight 3950 g
Dimensions L 17 x W 15 x H 50 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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