A very fine Chinese hollow-moulded glazed terracotta guardian soldier figure, dating from the Tang Dynasty period. The figure is presented standing and with hands arranged in a position which infers he is holding a weapon, the longitudinal piercing on his right hand furthermore suggests the statuette had an attached weapon originally. The figure’s military attire is an armour characteristic of the Tang period, comprising a hooded tunic with decorated chest plates. The rims of his garment, along with his thickened collar, are finely detailed in the terracotta. His facial features are minacious, with a deeply carved mouth, widened nostrils and raised eyebrows, thus to intimidate any offenders. The statuette features traces of the original pigments, which would have been applied after firing.
Date: Circa 618-907 AD Period: Tang Dynasty Provenance: Ex Desmond Morris private collection. Condition: Very fine, some earthy encrustations and glaze loss.
This statuette is an example of Tang Dynasty tomb figures of this time. Glazed earthenware figures, known in Chinese as mingqi, were placed in the burial chambers of the elite, 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. The Tang dynasty represents a golden age of achievement in Chinese history; under its rule, China became the richest and most powerful empire in the world.