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HOME : Chinese Art : Masterpieces of Chinese Art : A Pair of Tang Dynasty Painted Pottery Fat Ladies on Horses
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A Pair of Tang Dynasty Painted Pottery Fat Ladies on Horses - DL.2093
Origin: Shaanxi Province, Xi'an
Circa: 618 AD to 907 AD

Collection: Chinese
Medium: Terracotta
Condition: Extra Fine

Location: UAE
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During the Tang Dynasty, restrictions were placed on the number of objects that could be included in tombs, an amount determined by an individual's social rank. In spite of the limitations, a striking variety of tomb furnishings, known as mingqi, have been excavated. Entire retinues of ceramic figures - animals, entertainers, musicians, guardians - were buried with the dead in order to provide for the afterlife. Of the various types of mingqi, there is perhaps none more charming than the beautiful sculptures of elegant female courtiers, sometimes known as “Fat Ladies” for their fleshy faces. These gorgeous women reflect the appreciation of the female form during the Tang Dynasty. Such courtiers are described in the numerous love poems written during this era, considered a golden age of Chinese culture.

In these examples, the ladies-in-waiting are depicted on horseback. Considerable traces of the original polychromy survive, in particular a dark pigment has been used to indicate the saddle and the reins. The high status of the riders is indicated by the delicate floral motifs which adorn their long-sleeved dresses. Their hair is fashionably arranged in two different styles. Such women may represent wives, princesses, or attendants. Their beauty inspires us as we are transported back to another time. These gorgeous sculptures have been to the next world and returned to our modern era to tell us their tale. They speak of the enormous wealth and sophisticated culture of the Tang Dynasty, one of the greatest periods of artistic creation in human history. - (DL.2093)


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