Ancient Chinese Foreigner Groom

Ancient Chinese Foreigner Groom

Item Number: 8317


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Period: Tang Dynasty 618-907 CE.
Dimensions: 12" (31cm)
Material: Glazed Pottery
Condition: Thermoluminescent Tested
Region: China
Provenance: Acquired by present owner in England from an old English collection
A very rare ancient Chinese Tang Dynasty terracotta standing male figure.This figure depicts a Foreigner Groom or Attendant, partially glazed in a rich red-brown. Wearing a traditionally long robe. These figures were frequently placed in the tombs to honor the dead. The naturalistic molding of his face is quite striking. His pronounced cheekbones might indicate a Turkish origin.
The Tang Dynasty was centered in Chang'an, China, a city established by the Han dynasty. Under the Tangs, Chang'an became a thriving metropolis and center of international trade filled with merchants, foreign traders, missionaries from numerous religions, acrobats, artists and entertainers and the largest city in Asia, perhaps the world, with a population of around two million people at a time when no city in Europe had more than a few hundred thousand. The city was linked to the rest of China through a network of canals and toll roads.

The other major power center during the Tang Dynasty was Baghdad, the home of a Muslim dynasty. Robust trade between the two empires took place on the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road. Important ports included present-day Guangzhou in China and present-day Basra in Iraq. In the ninth century an estimated 10,000 foreign traders and merchants lived in Guangzhou, many of them Arabs and Persians. The Chinese became quite sophisticated about other peoples and used their visages in their art.