East Asia, China, Han dynasty, circa 200 BCE.
A female polychrome painted terracotta pottery tomb figure of a type known as a mingqi, or “spirit utensil” created to care for a deceased individual of high status in the tomb. She stands donning flowing garments, presenting a tranquil and beautiful visage, her hair in a bun atop her head, holding a pair of instruments together in front of her torso.
Han dynasty elites had underground tombs full of pottery figures that were made to meet their every need in the afterlife. Accompanied with a beautiful exotic custom wood stand.
Height: 8.9 Inches (22.5 cm); Width: 3 Inches; Depth: 3 Inches
On stand: 9.65 Inches (24.4 cm).
The Han dynasty was a period of wealth and stability for China, and the burial places of their rulers reflected this prosperity; inside of burial mounds, hundreds and sometimes thousands of miniatures figures were placed, recreating the daily life of the Emperor’s court or a noble person’s world. 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 collection of Lupita Tovar, silent screen actress of the 1930s, Bel-Air, California USA.