SICHUAN DANCER

漢代川蜀舞女俑

Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE)
60 cm high

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Description: This is a dancing terracotta lady figure from Sichuan region in Han dynasty. Although the colours have all faded, the shape and the moulded detail on the surface provide it with an everlasting life. The lady is dressed in a traditional robe dropping to the floor with long and wide sleeves and a band tightening the waist. She lifts the right arm and holds the left arm at the belly, with slightly bending right leg that moves forward. The folded and wavy sleeve from the right arm indicates the robust movement. The gentle facial detail, even just a few lines, expresses her joy and inner peace, highlighted by the mysterious smile. The most exquisite part is the elaborate flower hair ornaments, the three chrysanthemums. These flowers imply prosperity in Eastern Asian culture and are well blossoming just like the dancing lady full of life. Usually the dancing figure is accompanied by a group of sitting musicians playing various music instruments as well as a few more dancers, both males and females. The whole body is clearly made from two moulded parts – front and back that were connected together. The head and flower ornaments were casted separately as well. Although both this dancing figure and the other standing stick lady are from Han dynasty, the styles are completely different. This indicates that the Sichuan area has its own culture and lifestyle distinguished from the central plain around the capital. The reason being might be the impact from early Daoist masters living there.

Provenance: A British Collection

Reference: For a similar figure, see Lot 588, Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Sotheby’s New York, 20 March 2007

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