Tomb Figurine

2002.03.0001

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Basic Information

Artifact Identification Tomb Figurine   (2002.03.0001)
Classification/
Nomenclature
  1. Communication Artifacts
  2. :
  3. Ceremonial Artifacts
  4. :
  5. Funerary Objects
Artist/Maker None
Geographic Location
Period/Date Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), 206 BCE - 221 CE
Culture Chinese

Physical Analysis

Dimension 1 (Length) 46.5 cm
Dimension 2 (Width) 18.2 cm
Dimension 3 (Depth) 10.9 cm
Weight 3624 g
Measuring Remarks Weight taken with handle.
Materials Pigment, Ceramic--Earthenware
Manufacturing Processes Firing, Handbuilding, Painting
Munsell Color Information N/A

Research Remarks

Published Description

Featured Artifact Article 2002 by Jennifer Lane White: 137 - Han Dynasty Tomb Figurine This guard or warrior figure may have protected the tomb of a lesser official in the Chinese Emperor’s administration during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 221). It is about 18 inches high and made of painted earthenware. The figure represents important social changes that took place in early China. Prior to the Han Dynasty, China was an agriculturally based feudal society, plagued for centuries by warfare. The country was unified in the short-lived Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and again under the Han Dynasty rulers. China expanded its borders and extended its influence. Extensive trade routes led to an influx of foreign goods and ideas. Buddhism and Confucianism grew in popularity, imposing an emphasis on education and moral values. Society changed too, with increased social mobility and affluence. Elaborate and expensive funerary goods, created for the deceased to use in their afterlife, previously reserved only for the nobility, now became obtainable for those of lower rank and lesser wealth. An individual could select from a variety of different sizes, materials and quality of grave goods. Imperial edicts dictated the number and extent of tomb furnishings based on one’s official rank. Funerary goods represented objects from everyday life that would make for a comfortable life after death. Model homes, granaries, pavilions and entire compounds were reproduced in clay. Miniature replicas of agricultural tools, stoves and farm animals would have provided sustenance. Human figures representing servants, watchmen, musicians and dancers were included to make the tomb occupant’s life safe, comfortable and enjoyable. Richard and Barbara Faletti Family Collection.

Description

This guard or warrior figure may have protected the tomb of a lesser official in the Chinese Emperor’s administration during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 221). It is about 18 inches high and made of painted earthenware.

The figure represents important social changes that took place in early China. Prior to the Han Dynasty, China was an agriculturally based feudal society, plagued for centuries by warfare. The country was unified in the short-lived Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and again under the Han Dynasty rulers. China expanded its borders and extended its influence. Extensive trade routes led to an influx of foreign goods and ideas. Buddhism and Confucianism grew in popularity, imposing an emphasis on education and moral values. Society changed too, with increased social mobility and affluence.

Elaborate and expensive funerary goods, created for the deceased to use in their afterlife, previously reserved only for the nobility, now became obtainable for those of lower rank and lesser wealth. An individual could select from a variety of different sizes, materials and quality of grave goods. Imperial edicts dictated the number and extent of tomb furnishings based on one’s official rank. Funerary goods represented objects from everyday life that would make for a comfortable life after death. Model homes, granaries, pavilions and entire compounds were reproduced in clay. Miniature replicas of agricultural tools, stoves and farm animals would have provided sustenance. Human figures representing servants, watchmen, musicians and dancers were included to make the tomb occupant’s life safe, comfortable and enjoyable.

By Jennifer Lane White, Registrar

Comparanda N/A
Bibliography

Photo: "21st Century Museum Visitors & Digital Museum Resources", 12/16/2005.

Artifact History

Archaeological Data N/A
Credit Line/Dedication Richard and Barbara Faletti Family Collection
Reproduction No
Reproduction Information N/A

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