Funerary figure of civil official - ROM2005_1592_13


Funerary figure of civil official

Medium:Carved limestone
Geography: Yongtai Village; Beijing; China
Date: before 1656 AD
Period: Ming-Qing Dynasty
282.5 x 101.5 x 66.5 cm
Object number: 919.1.31
Credit Line: The George Crofts Collection
On view
Gallery Location:Gallery of Chinese Architecture
DescriptionThis is one of two gigantic figures, which are both very fine and rare surviving examples of 'spirit way' sculpture. The spirit way or shendao is the pathway to a Chinese tomb. From the Han period on, the approach to an important tomb was lined with pairs of large stone sculptures of animals, humans, and architectural elements such as towers and pillars. These served and protected the spirit of the deceased, in accordance with its rank. The custom lasted for two thousand years in China, and spread beyond her borders to Korea and Vietnam. This figure is nearly three metres high and weighs more than four tons. This one of the pair depicts a dignified civil official dressed in flowing robes, his hands clasping a hu or writing tablet. As is typical of spirit way sculptures of men, they are shown standing respectfully at attention and staring straight ahead as if participating in a ceremony at court.
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