Tang Dynasty Terracotta Court Attendent


A fine hollow-moulded terracotta male court official from the Tang Dynasty. The figure is presented standing and dressed in the traditional Tang court attire, comprising of voluminous robes with a rounded collar and long sleeves, which cover the man’s hands, as he holds them to his chest in a reverent pose. An horizontal band is positioned at the waist, a distinctive element of the official court attire which featured on male dresses throughout the Tang and Song Dynasty. Beautifully carved detailings is used to render the texture of the garment, further enhanced by the exceptional retention of the original pigmentation. He wears the futou (襆頭), the traditional male headwear, typically worn by government officials. Both dresses and hats were important social markers, with their colour and shape distinguishing the officials’ ranks. The man’s facial features are modelled in a naturalistic manner and sensitively executed by gentle brush strokes.

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size.

Date: Circa AD 618 - 906
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Vey fine condition. A minor chip to the right shoulder and to the base; exceptional retention of the original pigment still visible.


Figures of this type are called mingqi (冥器) in Chinese, and represented 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. Terracotta tomb attendants seemed to have first appeared during the Western Han Dynasty. However, it is during Tang China that the cultural tradition of displaying wealth in elite tombs reached its peak, with an increased production of terracotta statuettes.

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

Weight 921.2 g
Dimensions W 9.5 x H 34.5 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

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