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Tomb Figure of an Attendant

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
This tomb figure is thought to have been excavated from one of the pits of a Western Han imperial necropolis discovered in the vicinity of present-day Xi’an, in Shaanxi province, based on comparable finds. The figures were mass-produced and have been found in large numbers at these sites; the torsos, heads, and legs were made in separate molds and then joined together before being fired in the kiln. Their arms were most likely made of wood and attached by pegs through holes at the shoulders, and remnants of fabric in the tomb suggest that they wore silk garments, although both materials have disintegrated with time. The figures were originally painted with natural pigments: light reddish brown for their faces and body and black for their hair and eyebrows.
MEDIUM Earthenware, polychrome
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.
    DYNASTY Han Dynasty
    PERIOD Han Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 24 3/4 × 3 5/8 in. (62.9 × 9.2 cm) diameter: 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    EXHIBITIONS
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1994.147
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Thomas Colville
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Tomb Figure of an Attendant, 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E. Earthenware, polychrome, 24 3/4 × 3 5/8 in. (62.9 × 9.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Thomas Colville, 1994.147. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1994.147_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 1994.147_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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     <em>Tomb Figure of an Attendant</em>, 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E. Earthenware, polychrome, 24 3/4 × 3 5/8 in. (62.9 × 9.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Thomas Colville, 1994.147. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1994.147_bw.jpg)