Han Dynasty Pottery Stick Figure


A Chinese Han Dynasty hollow-moulded grey pottery figurine of a man. Statuettes such as this fine example, are known as “Stick Figures” due to their elongated and slender form, and would have originally acted much like dolls, with cloth garments and wooden, detachable arms, which are now sadly missing. Some examples would have portrayed the male figure completely nude, with long legs moulded together with the body; other examples, such as this one, show the figure wearing a short tunic, with legs separately moulded in clay, now missing. Facial features have been finely and naturalistically modelled, displaying a tight-lipped enigmatic smile and widely open eyes. His hair is modelled in a small knot at the back of his head. Figures such as this would have had heads moulded separately from their body. Traces of the original black pigment suggest that the figure is portrayed wearing a tunic.

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, some earthly encrustations on the surface. The item is mounted on a custom-made stand.

In stock

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. The prosperity of this period is reflected in the burial places of rulers of the time, which could contain up to thousands of mingqi, burial figurines, such as this one, which were depictions of everyday objects and people, like dancers, court attendants, guards and servants. These reflections in the afterlife of the daily environment of the deceased have left us with a beautiful wealth of statuettes, workshops for the creation of which have also been recovered near several burial places.

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

Weight 2000 g
Dimensions H 35 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item, see The Victoria and Albert Museum, item number  FE.44-2008

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