Pair of Han Dynasty Female Court Ladies

£ 2,200.00

A finely modelled hollow-moulded identical pair of Eastern Han Dynasty court ladies, portrayed in a kneeled position, with arms outstretched frontally, as in holding an object. The figures are presented wearing the traditional Eastern Han Dynasty court attire, known as shenyi, consisting of a long vest, tied to the waist and long, flaring sleeves, revealing a bright orange undergarment. The hair of both figures is arranged in a high bun, covered by an orange cap. Facial features, such as eyes and eyebrows, are rendered through a delicate black paint, while the lips are painted in bright red. The original white, orange and brown pigments would have been applied to the figurines after firing, with the result that the paint would have been more prone to flaking. The figures’ arms appear missing the detachable hands, which in antiquity would have been supporting offering or incense sticks.

Date: Circa 25-220 AD
Period: Eastern Han Dynasty
Condition: Extremely fine, with original pigments still visible to the surface. The piece has been Tl tested at Oxford Authentication Lab.

In stock

Grave goods were an important status symbol in ancient China, so the affluent and important would be accompanied in their travels through the afterlife with numerous depictions of people, items and animals. Such terracotta figures were made for the service and entertainment of the owner, ensuring that their journey in the underworld was a happy one.

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

Weight 4150 g
Dimensions L 25.9 x W 25.1 x H 28.6 cm


Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For similar: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, item 2000.662.9

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