Measurements: 22.5 cm - height − height


Description: A hollow-moulded straw-glaze clay terracotta Tang Dynasty figure of a soldier, with a partially glazed surface. The soldier is shown standing on an integral rectangular base, wearing a knee-length tunic belted around the hips. His right arm is raised to his chest, with a hole in the top of his hand for the holding of an incense stick, and his left arm is raised to his stomach. His hair is swept up into the military headdress typical in the Tang period. His face displays well-articulated features. The figure has been repaired, with the top of the head and the legs displaying no glaze.


This soldier is an example of Tang dynasty tomb figures of this time. Glazed earthenware figures were placed in the burial chambers of the elite, and mostly close to the capital in the north, in the belief that the figures represented would become available for the service of the deceased in the afterlife. The more diverse the processional figures were, the more powerful the individual was with whom these figures were buried. Many of these tomb figures were lead-glazed sancai wares, meaning they were decorated in three colours of brown, green, and creamy off-white; however this piece is straw-glazed. The Tang dynasty represents a golden age of achievement in Chinese history. Under Tang rule, China became the richest and most powerful empire in the world.


Reference: Christie's sale 2715, lot 271.

Christie's sale 3758, lot 290.


Period: Tang dynasty, 618-906 AD


Condition: Fine, top of the head and legs from below the knee restored, executed in white plaster, unglazed. Crack on the left side of the head due to firing, retouching to the glaze on the left side of the torso. There is a small hole in the plaster on the back of the restored legs. Extensive chipping to the base, minor chipping of the glaze over the whole and visible craquelure. Encrustations over the whole.

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