PAINTED NUDE FEMALE COURTIER
Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE)
Description: The so-called stick lady was from the imperial tomb in Han dynasty (206 BCE- 220 CE). In fact, it was made as one of the courtiers to accompany the emperors or empress in their afterlife, alongside with terracotta soldiers. Among all figures, it is rarer to find any female ones then the males. To reduce the cost, Han dynasty terracotta soldiers are much smaller compared to those from Qin dynasty that are in full human size, but only finer details complement the production. Originally the lady was well dressed, presumably in silk and had two moveable wooden arms, attached through the holes on each side of the shoulder. Over time, the organic materials became rotten and finally disappeared leaving its naked and slender body. In this way, one can appreciate its delicate details, such as the slightly raised collar bone, evident cleavage between the small breasts, not to mention the gentle belly button and the female genitalia. The whole fired figure was cold painted with multiple colours to make it vivant and look like a real human, in particular the brown pinkish hue of the skin. The head was well moulded with colours of the hairs, eyebrows, eyes and lips still remaining, clearly showing the facial detail and hair style. The gentle smile with red lips and the classic Eastern Asian eyes attracts great attention.
Provenance: A British Collection
Reference: For a similar figure, see an example from the Metropolitan Museum of Art https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/700605