Antique Chinese Tang Silver Statue
Circa: 14th Century Ming or earlier
Condition: malachite corrosions, small chips on base
H. 9 in.(23cm) X W. 3 in.(7.5cm) X D. 2.75 in.(7cm)
This silver-gilded bronze statue exhibits all the characteristics of a beautiful classic Tang woman. Unlike the Northern Wei dynasty's early aesthetic, the Tang (618-907 A.D.) gave way to a new aesthetic that favored a fuller, rounder, and softer physique. Here, the maiden wears a long billowing gown with loose-fitting sleeves, from the hems of her dress trailing the floor, revealing the crescent moon toecaps on her slippers. She has a high chignon coiffed into a distinctive coiffure. Her head gently bowed in a sublime supplication. Her hands gently folded submissively in waiting for the call to service. A maiden servant such as this Tang bronze was considered an essential attendant in the afterworld. Their purpose is to ensure the well-being of the privileged diseased person. Hence effigy of guards and servants were placed in the tomb. In some cases, horse carriages or entire households were put inside the tomb.
The fashioned maiden here appears to be buried underground for an extended period. Overall it is in aged deep black patina from sulfide corrosion, random patches of tin and copper culprit, imbedded with heavy layers of encrusted malachite inside and out. Optically, all combined factors appeared to be consistent in a 10th-century artifact. Thus we find this a compelling object of antiquity characteristically defined by its classical markers and grace.
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