Lot 594
  • 594

A rare set of Three Painted Grey Pottery Female Entertainers Han Dynasty

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comprising two slender dancers dressed in long layered robes with very long ribbon-like sleeves, one standing still with both arms raised and the sleeves fluttering over the shoulders, the other stepping forward with one arm swept back and the other bent over the shoulders, the sleeves forming crisp arches complementing the elegant lines of the body, their heads slightly bowed in a trance-like attitude, the faces with fine almond eyes and long finely delineated hair combed back and knotted below the nape, the third a kneeling singer shown chanting with hands clasped in front, the robes with considerable pink and brown pigments remaining over the white slip, degraded in places to show the fine grey ware (stands)

Catalogue Note

It is rare to find pottery figures of dancers of these expressive well-modelled types. Compare a slightly larger painted pottery dancer standing in a very similar pose with one sleeve tossed over the shoulder and the other pendent, sold in these rooms, 17th September 1998, lot 169; and another figure in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, illustrated in Emma C. Bunker, "Charlotte C. and John C. Weber - Benefactors Extraordinary", Orientations, May 1988, p. 70, fig. 1. For an example of a painted pottery dancer with both her arms held up, see a larger figure sold in these rooms, 1st June 1994, lot 234.  A figure of this model, unearthed at Baijiakou, Xi'an city, Shaanxi province, and now in the Museum of Chinese History, Beijing, is illustrated in The Great Treasury of Chinese Arts: Sculpture, vol. 2, Beijing, 1988, pl. 61. For examples of related seated figures, see one with hands held together on her lap covered by her sleeves, in the Shaanxi Province History Museum, illustrated in Zhongguo taoci quanji, vol. 3, Shanghai, 2000, pl. 85; and another with hands partially covering her face under her sleeves, sold at Christie's New York, 25th March 1998, lot 97.

The dating of this lot is consistent with the results of a thermoluminescence test, Oxford Authentication Ltd., nos. C103n72, C103n73, and C103t11.