loader image

Chinese, Tang Dynasty Terracotta figure of a court dignatary, Circa 618-907 AD

Conservation:  Overall very good, with superficial rubbing, loss of colour and small chips. Top of cap broken and repaired
Material:  Terracotta
Dimensions:  90 x 25 cm
Provenance:  Ex-collection David A. Berg, New York; Christie’s, December, 2003; Acquired in M. C., Philadelphia, USA, March 2023


On request
Ref mac001 Categories ,


The tall dignitary is shown standing on a stylized rockwork base with the hands clasped on his chest, wearing a double-lobed high cap, long dark red robe with wide sleeves, kept off the ground by large, traditional upturned shoes.

The Tang dynasty is considered by historians to be a period of splendour in Chinese civilisation, equal or even superior to the Han period. Emerging from a period of despotism under the cruel Yang Di, it was established by Li Shimin who, out of filial piety, put his father on the throne before assuming the role of emperor himself and founding the Tang dynasty. Stimulated by contact with India and the Middle East via the Silk Road, the Tang empire experienced a creative boom in many fields. Buddhism, which had emerged in India at the time of Confucius, continued to flourish during this period and was adopted by the imperial family, becoming an essential part of traditional Chinese culture. The great cultural opening will result in a fundamentally colourful, expressive and highly eclectic art, although it remains primarily for funerary use, with the artist remaining an anonymous craftsman.

Scroll to Top