China, Northern Qi period (549-577AD)
Height: 77 cm
TL Tested by Oxford Authentication Ltd
- Private Collection, Belgium (2016)
This pair of pottery warriors stand upright and have non-Chinese features, with fearsome expressions. Both figures are wearing armour, presumably made of leather, strengthened with breastplates, shoulder guards and cording.
- with Vanderven Oriental Art (2004)
They wear long flowing trousers with sturdy black boots peeking out from underneath. The right hand would have held a lance of some kind which has now been lost. The whole is cold decorated with reddish pigments. In their left hand they hold a tall shield decorated in the centre with a lions mask. In the Suishu (History of the Sui) – it mentions warriors accompanying the Emperor, holding shields decorated with golden lions’ heads. Perhaps these figures are representation of a similar honour guards serving the elite.
These soldiers would have been responsible for the safety of the tomb occupant. The foreign features suggest they were one of the many non-Han peoples residing in Northern China at that time., possibly from Central Asian origin.
Similar figures are in the Shanxi and Hebei Provincial Museums and can be dated 570 & 566 AD).