Han Dynasty Female Court Attendant


A very fine hollow-moulded grey earthenware female court attendant dating to the Han Dynasty. The figure is presented standing in a reverent pose, wearing the traditional Han Dynasty court attire, the shenyi, consisting of a long vest, tied at the waist and long, flaring sleeves. Her hairstyle, with a parting line in the middle and a bun to the back, is highly detailed through incisions. She has a calm expression, with gently smiling lips. This type of figurine would have been mould-made, with detailing added later.

Date: Circa 202 BC- AD 220
Period: Han Dynasty
Provenance: 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: Good condition; the statuette has been repaired at the neck.


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.

To discover more about the Roger Moss Collection, visit our Provenance Collection Page.


Weight 167.2 g
Dimensions W 4.5 x H 13.7 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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