Han Dynasty Carved Funerary Stone Slab

£ 750.00

A rectangular funerary stone slab dating from the Han Dynasty. The frontal decoration is divided into two registers and achieved through a combination of carving and painting, which permit a look at the fine art of Han stone carving. The pictorial programme brings together auspicious animals and Buddhist iconography to signal the heavenly domain and meet the symbolic needs of the deceased. To the top, three scenes are presented within their own frames, displaying typical naturalistic representations seen since the Eastern Han Dynasty. The lateral frames show a horse and a bull, stylistically portrayed in a coastal landscape; whilst, the central scene features a stylised stag, with its head turned to the right. The animal’s body is richly decorated by crescent shapes, indicating its bristling mane. Behind it, waves, mountains and foliage form a suggestive landscape. A florid frame composes the lower register, a common motif in Buddhist art derived from the Indian chaitya arch. The reverse remains unworked.

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size.

Date: 206 BC – AD 220
Period: Han Dynasty
Condition: Fine condition, with some retention of the original pigmentation. The edges are uneven; signs of ageing appear on the surface.


Terracotta funerary tiles are part of the wide burial offering category known as Mingqi  (冥器). Differing from their zoomorphic and human figurines counterparts, funerary tiles decorated the tombs’ internal spaces with the purpose of comforting and satisfying the deceased in the afterlife. They were normally decorated with zoomorphic images or narrative scenes portraying idyllic romance and honourable warrior parades to reflect the deceased’s personal taste and lifestyle. Employing highly decorated bricks or tiles to furnish the tombs have been one of the most important burial aspects since the Han Dynasty, reflecting the ancient Chinese spiritual realm where the afterlife is an extension to human life. Pictorial tiles, bricks and stones with distinctive decorative features have been unearthed in many Chinese provinces.

Weight 10650 g
Dimensions L 76.5 x W 23.7 x H 2.3 cm



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