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