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Image of Standing Male Tomb Figure of a Dignitary

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Standing Male Tomb Figure of a Dignitary

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)
Gift of Helen Burwell Chapin, Class of 1914, AB 1915

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.

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Standing Male Tomb Figure of a Dignitary |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=1/23/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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