East Asia, China, West Han Dynasty, ca. 208 BCE to 8 CE. A large self-standing pottery human figure with no arms and a well-sculpted head with a naturalistic face with sharp cheekbones and a heavy brow, painted all over a tan color, aside from the hair, which is black. This figure would once have had arms of wood, and clothing made of textiles; these have not survived over time. The heads were molded and attached to the bodies, which were carved from a single piece of clay. Size: 3.5" W x 22.25" H (8.9 cm x 56.5 cm).
This figure is of the type from Yangling. Yangling Mausoleum was constructed near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, in central eastern China, which during the Zhou, Qin, Western Han, and Tang dynasties was the eastern end of the Silk Road and home to their ruling houses. The Han Dynasty was a period of wealth and stability for China, and the burial places of their rulers reflected this prosperity. Yangling consisted of two massive burial mounds and contained more than 50,000 miniature terracotta figures who reflected the daily life of the Emperor's court, including warriors clad in full armor, like this figure probably was, servants, eunuchs, animals, and models of important buildings like granaries. The creation of all these pottery figures spawned a huge industry and the remains of workshops have also been found near the burial mounds.
Provenance: private Ventura County, California, USA collection
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