Lot

634

A VERY LARGE RARE GREY STONEWARE HUMAN-HEADED PILLAR Han Dynasty

In Collector's Treasures: Asian Art Online

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A VERY LARGE RARE GREY STONEWARE HUMAN-HEADED PILLAR Han Dynasty The hollow rectangular pillar with two canted corners, moulded with panel of stylised foliate and archaic motifs, surmounted by a crouching human headed figure, the arms held together at the front and legs tucked in at the sides. 123cm (48 1/2in) high. Footnotes: 漢 石雕人像柱 Provenance: a distinguished UK Private collection, according to the owner the pillar has been in their collection from circa 1975 The present pillar would have been positioned before the entrance to a multi-chambered underground burial belonging to a high-ranking member of the Han dynasty. The various scenes of entertainment, parades, protective guardians and mythical figures formed part of an elaborate setting aimed at sustaining the tomb occupant in their afterlife. The ancestors in China were believed to be active participants to the life of their living offspring, which they could positively influence if provided with continuous nourishment and all the right necessities for their afterlife existence. A miniature universe was thus presented to the tomb occupant in the form of multi-chambered burials, constructed underground, which mimicked the large estate inhabited by the owner before death. These included parades of officials entering the gate, banqueting and hunting scenes, reception halls, musical scenes. Heavenly realms were also part of this elaborate settings and normally depicted in the form of spirits riding clouds, unusual birds and the four animals, symbolising the four quadrants of the sky and earth; see J.Rawson, 'The Eternal Palaces of the Western Han: A New View of the Universe' in Artibus Asiae, vol.59, 1999, pp.5-58; see also Ibid., 'Creating Universes: Cultural Exchange as Seen in Tombs in Northern China Between the Han and Tang Periods', in Between Han and Tang. Cultural and Artistic Interactions in a Transformative period, Beijing, 2001, pp.113-152. Compare with a nearly identical stoneware pillar, first century AD, in the British Museum, London, illustrated by S.Vainker, Chinese Pottery and Porcelain: From Prehistory to the Present, London, 1991, p.46, fig.33. Please note this lot will be viewable by appointment only at our Oxford storage facility prior to the sale. Please contact the department for further details. This lot is subject to the following lot symbols: TP TP For auctions held in Scotland: Lots will be moved to an offsite storage location (Constantine, Constantine House, North Caldeen Road, Coatbridge ML5 4EF, Scotland, UK) and will only be available for collection from this location at the date stated in the catalogue. Please refer to the catalogue for further information. For all other auctions: Lots will be moved to an offsite storage location (Cadogan Tate, Auction House Services, 241 Acton Lane, London NW10 7NP, UK) and will only be available for collection from this location at the date stated in the catalogue. Please note transfer and storage charges will apply to any lots not collected after 14 calendar days from the auction date. For further information on this lot please visit Bonhams.com For further information about this lot please visit the lot listing

A VERY LARGE RARE GREY STONEWARE HUMAN-HEADED PILLAR Han Dynasty The hollow rectangular pillar with two canted corners, moulded with panel of stylised foliate and archaic motifs, surmounted by a crouching human headed figure, the arms held together at the front and legs tucked in at the sides. 123cm (48 1/2in) high. Footnotes: 漢 石雕人像柱 Provenance: a distinguished UK Private collection, according to the owner the pillar has been in their collection from circa 1975 The present pillar would have been positioned before the entrance to a multi-chambered underground burial belonging to a high-ranking member of the Han dynasty. The various scenes of entertainment, parades, protective guardians and mythical figures formed part of an elaborate setting aimed at sustaining the tomb occupant in their afterlife. The ancestors in China were believed to be active participants to the life of their living offspring, which they could positively influence if provided with continuous nourishment and all the right necessities for their afterlife existence. A miniature universe was thus presented to the tomb occupant in the form of multi-chambered burials, constructed underground, which mimicked the large estate inhabited by the owner before death. These included parades of officials entering the gate, banqueting and hunting scenes, reception halls, musical scenes. Heavenly realms were also part of this elaborate settings and normally depicted in the form of spirits riding clouds, unusual birds and the four animals, symbolising the four quadrants of the sky and earth; see J.Rawson, 'The Eternal Palaces of the Western Han: A New View of the Universe' in Artibus Asiae, vol.59, 1999, pp.5-58; see also Ibid., 'Creating Universes: Cultural Exchange as Seen in Tombs in Northern China Between the Han and Tang Periods', in Between Han and Tang. Cultural and Artistic Interactions in a Transformative period, Beijing, 2001, pp.113-152. Compare with a nearly identical stoneware pillar, first century AD, in the British Museum, London, illustrated by S.Vainker, Chinese Pottery and Porcelain: From Prehistory to the Present, London, 1991, p.46, fig.33. Please note this lot will be viewable by appointment only at our Oxford storage facility prior to the sale. Please contact the department for further details. This lot is subject to the following lot symbols: TP TP For auctions held in Scotland: Lots will be moved to an offsite storage location (Constantine, Constantine House, North Caldeen Road, Coatbridge ML5 4EF, Scotland, UK) and will only be available for collection from this location at the date stated in the catalogue. Please refer to the catalogue for further information. For all other auctions: Lots will be moved to an offsite storage location (Cadogan Tate, Auction House Services, 241 Acton Lane, London NW10 7NP, UK) and will only be available for collection from this location at the date stated in the catalogue. Please note transfer and storage charges will apply to any lots not collected after 14 calendar days from the auction date. For further information on this lot please visit Bonhams.com For further information about this lot please visit the lot listing

Collector's Treasures: Asian Art Online

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Tags: Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Han, Tang, Chinese Porcelain, Porcelain, Figure, Chinese Art by Period / Style