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Tomb Figurine of a Lady Holding a Pekinese

  • Colored terra-cotta
  • Height: 49.2 cm
  • China, Tang Dynasty (8th Century)
  • GK 260
  • Kyoto National Museum

This colored tomb figurine of a Tang Dynasty beauty is one of the finest of its kind and a sculptural masterpiece. Her tall coiffeur and plump figure and face resemble paintings of beauties under trees from the same period. The pet Pekinese she holds in her arms adds to the charm of this work. Red, yellow, green, blue and black colors, faint traces of these colors can be seen on her face and garments, seem to have been layered on top of the white-primed, reddish-brown body. A slash in the coiffeur suggests that it originally held a hair ornament. A bust with a similar hairstyle was discovered in a tomb dated 808 A.D. in the suburbs of Xi-an.

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