Pottery musician with drum

Height: 16 inches, 40.6 cm
Width: 10 1/2 inches, 26.6 cm

Pottery musician with drum

China, Chengdu region, Sichuan province, Eastern Han dynasty, 1st-3rd century

A pottery figure of a woman depicted in listening pose, with her left hand raised to cup the ear. The figure is kneeling and dressed in an elaborate costume with full sleeves and crossover lapels. The head is moulded separately and fitted. A closely fitting turban covers the hair and the face has a calm, smiling expression. Extensive traces of bright red pigments adorn the figure.

This charming, animated figure was made in Sichuan province. It has much in common with the well-known contemporary figures of drummers and balladeers, one of which was included in the exhibition The Quest for Eternity.[1] This figure is also closely related to a group of three kneeling female pottery musicians in the collection of David W. Dewey, which are of similar proportions and dressed in the same full-sleeved, “winged” robes, just like the present figure.[2]

Oxford TL-test certificate: C121h54

  1. Dien, A. et al, The Quest for Eternity, Chinese Ceramic Sculptures from the Peoples Republic of China, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1987, no. 38, p. 11 7 and the cover.
  2. Jacobsen, R.D. Celestial Houses and Long Sleeve Dancers, Hong Kong 2013, p. 104