Han Dynasty Musician Court Attendant


A fine Chinese Han Dynasty hollow-moulded terracotta statuette of a court attendant, displayed kneeling and playing a musical instrument, possibly a zither, with both hands. His head is slightly tilted to one side and the statuette still displays some of its original pigmentation. Drawn eyes are detailed through very fine lines with black pigment over the white of the face, his hair is arranged in a neat hairstyle on top of his head, over a head band, and painted with dark pigments. Traces of red can be seen on his headband and robes.

Date: Circa 202 BC-220 AD
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: Very fine, original pigments still visible.


The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China (206 BC–220 AD), and its art is notable for aiming to give form to everyday people and objects. It was a period of significant economic growth, and this facilitated discovery and innovation: technical possibilities in the arts increased as a result, enabling artists to push boundaries. The art of the Han dynasty is largely decorative, a shift away from the functional, ritualistic art of the previous Qin dynasty. This statuette was likely a ‘mingqi’, a burial figurine, viewed as a sort of utensil for the afterlife, and usually depicting everyday objects and people, like dancers, court attendants, and servants. Mingqi figurines of dancers and musicians would have been placed in the tomb with the deceased to ensure company and entertainment.

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

Weight 83.4 g
Dimensions H 9 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum, item 36.12.11 .

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