Painted Pottery Figure of a Courtier

Tang Dynasty, 8th century

Reference#: P6869

Dimensions:
13 inches high (33 cm.)
13 ¾ inches long (35 cm.)
12 inches wide (30.5 cm.)

The recumbent figure with red, black, yellow, and green pigments, modeled in a kowtowing position, kneeling with the legs splayed and resting on the elbows, the head raised and slightly turned to the left, the plump face detailed with small features. The figure dressed in a long red robe that covers the hands and flares at the elbows revealing a green lining, draping in distinctly carved lines, cinched with a yellow patterned belt. The face painted flesh tone and detailed with small eyes, red lips, a black, wispy goatee and thin strands of black hair that appear from beneath the high, black hat.

The kowtowing pose of the present figure, while not unknown amongst Tang dynasty tomb figures, is considerably rare. A handful of other examples appear to be published, in varying styles and related poses.1The present example, of pleasing and compact proportions, displays remarkably vibrant pigment as well as finely painted facial details. Kneeling in obeisance, such figures would have been placed in tombs to pay homage to the deceased and replicated the cultural custom in a lifelike manner.

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