Han Dynasty Terracotta Court Entertainer

£ 245.00

A fine Chinese Han Dynasty hollow-moulded terracotta statuette of a dancer, displayed in a dynamic pose. The figurine appears in a twisted pose, standing on one foot, with one arm raised in midair and with his face facing upwards. His robes are decorated with stripes of paint over the wide sleeves and still display some traces of red and black pigments. Facial features like the nose and lips are modelled in the terracotta and further detailed with painting. Lips are red and eyes are drawn with fine black lines over the pale pink face paint. The dancer’s hair is arranged in neat hairstyle, also showing a knot behind his head. The hair painted with dark pigments, creating a beautiful contrast with the pale face.

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, 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 100 g
Dimensions H 11 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum, item number 36.12.12

You may also like…