Rare Han Dynasty Mother and Child Statuette


A rare Chinese Han Dynasty hollow-moulded terracotta burial statuette of a female figure, portrayed kneeling while holding her child with her arms. The figure is shown with her hair arranged in the typical high bun and wearing a cape on top of her vest, still displaying traces of the original black and red pigment. The heavy fold of the figure’s garments are emphasised by deep carvings.  Facial features are finely rendered, with the lips and nose are naturalistically modelled in the terracotta and the eyes and eyebrows drawn with fine lines of dark pigment. Pigments such as the ones visible on this figurine would have been applied after firing, with the result that they would have been more prone to flaking.

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 and rare; original pigments still visible on parts of the statuette. Neck repaired.

In stock

In Ancient China, terracotta unglazed and low-fired glazed statuettes of animals and human figures, known in Chinese as mingqi, would have been placed in the deceased’s tomb to ensure companionship and service in the afterlife. Mingqi were usually modelled as an intimation of either common objects that once played a vital role in Han Dynasty domestic life, or as zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures that were closely related to the deceased when they were alive. Terracotta figures of court attendants were made for the service and entertainment of the owner, ensuring that their journey in the underworld was a happy one. Although it is rare to have a mingqi in the shape of a mother with her child, statuettes of this type might have been placed in the grave with the intention to recreate a domestic and familiar scene in the afterlife.

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

Weight 156 g
Dimensions H 12.5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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