Rare Tang Dynasty Court Entertainers Group

£ 4,400.00

A rare group of Tang Dynasty hollow terracotta statues depicting court entertainers. The group includes a seated bearded lady, with her legs crossed, her hands joined, possibly applauding her fellow entertainers. The bearded lady is an extremely rare figure in compositions of entertainers such as this one. The other lady, a dancer, is reaching out her arm, while her dress shows an elegant twist. The two men accompanying these ladies are dancing as well, their knees slightly bent and arms lifted as caught in motion. All members of the group, except one male dancer, are dressed in ochre-coloured coats and dresses decorated with red flowers. The other male dancer wears a bright blue coat instead of ochre.

Date: Circa 618-906 AD
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Very fine. Traces of colours on the surface vivid. The group comes with a Thermoluminescence Report from Oxford Authentication, confirming the date.

Terracotta moulded figures of people and animals were meant to be grave goods to be placed in tombs. It was believed that these figures would serve and assist the deceased in the afterlife. Figures of this type are called mingqi in Chinese, and usually depict servants, officials, soldiers, musicians, court attendants, dancers and, in the case of animals, horses and Bactrian camels. As in life, attendant figures are depicted standing nearby, waiting to fulfil the desires and needs of the deceased. They were lined outside the tomb before the coffin was taken inside, and then placed and arranged inside the tomb. The size and number of the figures in a grave depended on the rank of the deceased. Well-preserved groups such as this one are a rare find and reflect the golden age of court performances during Tang Dynasty. The performances were eclectic and on a grand-scale, sometimes with tens of thousands of performers. With its keen interest in other cultures, the Tang court received musicians and performing arts groups from many regions. Such a wide range of performers included: acrobats, ceremonial dancers, clowns, singers, musicians and martial arts masters.

To discover more about Tang tomb figurines, please visit our relevant post: Chinese Tang Dynasty: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.

Dimensions H 27.5 cm



East Asia (Far East)

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