Celestial Horses and Long Sleeve Dancers

11 x 11", 312 pp., 300+ color images, cloth, Minneapolis, 2013. Item #8
ISBN: 9781588861146

In 1974 Chinese peasants stumbled upon one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time; the spectacular burial guard, numbering over 7000 life size terra-cotta soldiers and horses, at the tomb of the first Emperor Qinshihuang ( r. 259–210 B.C.). Large figurines such as these, made in such great numbers and detailed naturalism was unprecedented. It, along with many recent archaeological finds from succeeding dynasties, has propelled the renewed interest in ancient Chinese tomb sculpture, and Chinese culture in general, that we have witnessed in recent decades.

During the Han (206 B.C.–A.D. 220), Six Dynasties (220–589) and Tang (618–907) periods it was customary to place colorful glazed and painted earthenware sculpture in elaborate aristocratic burials to protect, serve and entertain the deceased in the afterlife. Figural subjects including beautiful courtiers, attendants, dancers, musicians, soldiers, foreign grooms, falconers, architectural models, all sorts of barnyard animals, magnificent horses, mythological beasts, and fierce protective deities were ritually placed in richly furnished burials to accompany the tomb occupant for eternity.

Numbering over 250 works spanning nearly 1500 years, the Dewey collection of ancient Chinese tomb sculpture is exceptional for its breadth and outstanding quality. Representing nearly all figural types, stylistic traditions and themes, it provides a comprehensive visual record with fascinating insights into the customs and fashions, inventions and superstitions of ancient China’s ruling elite during the golden age of the Great Silk Road.

Price: $125.00