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HOME : Chinese Art : Tang Dynasty : Tang Polychrome Sculpture of an Attendant
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Tang Polychrome Sculpture of an Attendant - H.630
Origin: China
Circa: 8 th Century AD to 9 th Century AD
Dimensions: 21.75" (55.2cm) high
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Painted Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
This attendant exhibits a finesse and gentleness associated with the civil corp. He wears a mid-length orange tunic and armored breastplate and backplate bound by cords, while a flowing white bottom piece exposes the tips of his burgundy shoes. Standing in a proud and regal position, with his hands held together just above his stomach, this figure patiently awaits the commands of his deceased master in the afterlife. Considered to be the finest examples of Chinese burial objects, Tang figurines reached their apex in the first half of the eighth century. The important role assigned to these models in Tang tomb arrangements and their significance as status symbols and powerful guardians protecting the dead meant that these clay figures became luxury items. They reflect the artistic vitality of the time and give a unique perspective into Tang customs and practices as well as the contemporary upper class life. This object symbolizes both the earthly wealth of his master as well as the familial piety of the deceased’s relative who commissioned the work. With furrowed brow and dimpled cheeks, this attendant bears a pensive, compassionate expression that is both wise and comforting. Clearly, this is a man who the deceased can turn to for spiritual advice and assistance in beginning a new life in the next world. Today, this sculpture is a vivid reminder of the glories of Chinese civilization. He represents both the wealth and taste of the culture, and their appreciation of beauty, as well as the philosophical and religious beliefs of the time. - (H.630)

 

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