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Image of Standing Male Tomb Figure of a Dignitary

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Bookmark: http://triarte.brynmawr.edu/objects-1/info/174645





Standing Male Tomb Figure of a Dignitary

Tang
618-907
Pottery partially glazed

28 1/2 in. x 8 in. x 5 1/2 in. (72.39 cm x 20.32 cm x 13.97 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 2009.28.9
Geography: Asia, China
Classification: Fine and Visual Arts; Sculptures; Terracottas
Culture/Nationality: Chinese
Collection: Helen B. Chapin '15 Collection
This tomb figure of a dignitary is from the Tang period, which is widely known as a high point in the production of mingqi the figurines and models included in Chinese burials. This example is decorated with the sancai (three-color) glaze typical of the Tang Dynasty.

Important people would have been honored with a large funeral procession that incorporated the display of these sculptures. Larger tomb figures, such as this one, indicate that the deceased was wealthy and important. One role of tomb figures was to appease and satisfy the needs of the dead, lest malevolent spirits seek retribution on the living. A typical nobleman's tomb would also have contained guardian figures, as well as actual food, furniture, and clothing.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • Asian - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Asia, which is in the eastern hemisphere, and is bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, and is generally considered to be delimited on the west by the Ural Mountains. It also refers to the numerous islands off the coast of Asia.
  • Chinese - The cultures, styles, and periods characteristic of China. To specifically refer to the cultures of ancient Chine, use "Ancient Chinese."
  • earthenware - Pottery with a porous body, fired below 1200 degrees Centigrade. It is not vitrified, and must be glazed to render it nonporous.
  • figures - Representations of humans, animals, or mythical beasts, in any medium.
  • male - Referring to the sex that in reproduction normally produces sperm cells or male gametes.
  • Sancai - Refers to the style of porcelain made in China during the T'ang dynasty (618-906 BCE), characterized by streaks and spots of three colors, typically dark blue, turquoise and aubergine. The term also refers to pottery made during the Ming and Ching dynasties (1368-1912), made with the same three colors, but separated by clay ridges outlining the pattern.
  • sculpture - Three-dimensional works of art in which images and forms are produced in relief, in intaglio, or in the round. The term refers particularly to art works created by carving or engraving a hard material, by molding or casting a malleable material (which usually then hardens), or by assembling parts to create a three-dimensional object. It is typically used to refer to large or medium-sized objects made of stone, wood, bronze, or another metal. Small objects are typically referred to as "carvings" or another appropriate term. "Sculpture" refers to works that represent tangible beings, objects, or groups of objects, or are abstract works that have defined edges and boundaries and can be measured. As three-dimensional works become more diffused in space or time, or less tangible, use appropriate specific terms, such as "mail art" or "environmental art."
  • Tang - Refers to the culture, style, and period of a Chinese dynasty of the period 618 to 907 CE, a time considered one of the most brilliant in Chinese history. China flourished as a stable, consolidated empire and the resulting prosperity and patronage created a Golden Age of Chinese painting, metalwork, ceramics, music, and poetry. Chang'an, with its masterful urban planning, remained the main Tang capital and a world center. Taizong (reigned 626-649) and Xuanzong (reigned 712-756) were important Tang rulers and patrons. Buddhism remained influential although it suffered periods of persecution during the Tang dynasty. Paintings from the caves at Dunhuang and stone pagodas such as the Great Wild Goose Pagoda (ca. 652) and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda (ca. 707) in Chang'an have survived. Monumental stone sculpture of the northern provinces displays the new tendency toward fuller, more sensual figures. This tendency also found in secular Tang sculpture, both stone and ceramic. The merging of Indian and Chinese sculpture styles is seen at the cave at Mt. Tianlong, created under the patronage of Empress Wu Zetian (reigned 690-705). Painting, which flourished during the Tang, was dominated by the secular landscape tradition. Li Sixum and Li Zhaodao, father and son, and Wang Wei are three painters' names known to us; probable copies of their work exist. Wang Wei's work, influential for later artists, was intimate and melancholy while the work of Li Sixum and Li Zhaodao features the bright greens and blues of many Tang landscapes. Chinese portrait painting, begun in the Han dynasty, was refined in the Tang by such artists as Wu Daozi. Tang ceramics include sancai earthenware figurines and vessels, typically used as tomb objects, white porcellanous wares such as the well-known Xing ware of Henan province, and the jadelike Yue celadons of Zhejiang province. The use of metal oxides in underglaze decoration was developed in Hunan and Sichuanh provinces and porcelain, although not fully exploited until later, has its origins in the Tang period. Tang decorative arts were influenced by Middle Eastern and other foreign trends during the Tang dynasty, leading to new styles in ceramics and metalwork. For instance, colorful glazed earthenware objects such as ewers and rhytons were made to resemble Persian silverwork and Persian weft patterning were introduced to Chinese textiles. China, in turn, exported its pottery, silk, and printing and paper technology. The Tang dynasty was succeeded by the Later Liang dynasty.
  • tombs - Elaborations constructed over or around burial sites; for simple interments in the earth, use "graves."

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 2009.28.9_BMC_f.jpg
2009.28.9_BMC_f.jpg

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
  • Worlds to Discover: 125 Years of Collections at Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr College , Sep 24, 2010 – May 28, 2011

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Marianne Hansen and Emily Croll. Worlds to Discover. Bryn Mawr College. Bryn Mawr, PA, 2010
    Page Number: 26

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url=http://triarte.brynmawr.edu/objects-1/info/174645 |title=Standing Male Tomb Figure of a Dignitary |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=5/18/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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