Tang Dynasty Pair of Female Musicians


An extremely fine and well-preserved matching pair of moulded terracotta female musicians statuettes, dating to the Chinese Tang Dynasty. Both figures are presented seated while playing musical instruments including a drum and possibly a zither. Both figures are wearing the traditional court attire and hairstyle. Facial features are sensitively rendered with eyes and eyebrows emphasised by black pigment while the lips and cheeks are painted in red, following the makeup trends of the Tang court. The original white, red and black pigments are still perfectly visible to the statuettes’ surface. Such colours would have been applied after firing resulting in the pieces being more prone to flaking. However, in this case the original colours have preserved themselves extremely fine, maintaining part of their original brightness.

The price is for the pair.

Date: Circa 618-906 AD
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Extremely fine, complete and intact. One statuette of the pair has been thermoluminescence tested at Laboratory Kotalla. 

In stock

Tang ceramic production reached its peak with terracotta moulded zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures, known in Chinese as mingqi. Such statuettes would have been placed in Chinese graves, to assist, protect and entertain the deceased in the afterlife.  Figures of musicians and dancers, as this fine pair, were especially popular, as they served to entertain the deceased in the after life.

To discover more about Tang statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.

Weight 900 g
Dimensions W 7.7 x H 14.8 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item, see The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Accession Number: 23.180.6

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