A finely moulded and painted Tang terracotta figurine of a female court lady, portrayed standing with her right hand held to the chest, the standard position for statuettes of court attendant. She is wearing a long robe tied to the waist, resembling the traditional Tang Dynasty court dress known as ruqun, composed of a heavily pleated skirt and long sleeves. Her hair is arranged in an elaborate coiffeur, neatly drawn up in a topknot and gathered in a net at the back of her neck. Her face is covered with white pigment, on which thin, slightly arched eyebrows, narrow eyes and pointed nose have been outlined in black pigment. Light reddish-pink pigment has been applied on her cheeks and her small mouth has been painted in red pigment.
Date: Circa 618-906 AD Period: Tang Dynasty Condition: Fine, with pigments still intact.
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. 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.
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