Han Dynasty Court Attendant Fragment

£ 295.00

A Chinese Han Dynasty terracotta fragment of a female court attendant, elegantly portrayed with the typical Han Dynasty features. The figure retains the original pink, red and black pigments, which would have been applied to the figure after firing, with the result that the paint would have been more prone to flaking. They enhance the attendant’s facial features: the slender nose and almond eyes, the plump lips raised in a serene smile. Her hair is carefully drawn back from the face and fall behind her shoulders, where it would have been arranged in a long, low ponytail. The fragment would have been part of a tall hollow terracotta statuette, dressed in the traditional Eastern Han Dynasty court attire, known as the shenyi.

Date: Circa 202 BC- AD 220
Period: Han Dynasty
Condition: Good condition, some irregular chips at the neck. The fragment comes with a custom made stand.


In Ancient China, terracotta unglazed and low-fired glazed statuettes of animals and human figures, known in Chinese as mingqi, would have been placed in the deceased’s tomb to ensure companionship and service in the afterlife. 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.

Weight 533.2 g
Dimensions W 8 x H 13.5 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

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