Measurements: 27.5 cm - height


Description: A Tang Dynasty unglazed buff clay statuette of a groom. The figure is shown standing on an integrated quadrilateral base, with both his hands close to his chest. He is wearing trousers with a herringbone pattern still visible in brown pigment, a short jacket with wide lapels and boots. Traces of red and black paint are visible on his eyes, eyebrows, lips, hair and clothes. The figure depicts a typical groom, possibly from Altai Mountains, who lived and travelled through China during this period. They are normally depicted extending their hand to hold the reins of a camel or a horse. Foreign servants feature often in Tang burials, especially as grooms or horse trainers.


This statuette is an example of mingqi figure: mingqi are today the most visible testimony from the Tang Dynasty, due to their durability and number. Although most mingqi were mass-produced using moulds, they are remarkably animated: this naturalism was central to the figures’ purpose of providing the deceased with entertainment, service and guardianship.


Reference: The British Museum

Further reading on Chinese burials: The Metropolitan Museum


Provenance: From Cheuk collection, Hong Kong.


Period: Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD)


Condition: Very fine, intact, earthy deposits cover the surface.

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