On View In:
Gallery 215
Artist:   Artist Unknown  
Title:   Female "Long Sleeve" Dancer  
Date:   Western Han dynasty  
Medium:   Earthenware  
Dimensions:   20 5/8 x 8 13/16 x 6 in. (52.39 x 22.38 x 15.24 cm)  
Credit Line:   Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton  
Location:   Gallery 215  

Many types of pottery dancing figures have been retrieved from Han tombs, but examples of this large size with finely sculpted naturalistic details, are relatively rare. The performance of ritual dance during Han was a court prerogative, and the number of dancers permitted to each noble was regulated according to his rank and merit.

This thin elegant dancer is dressed in the traditional shen-i garment; long and layered robes with oversized sleeves. She captures the stately motion and austere spirit of the "sleeve-tossing dance" style (chang-hsiu wu) which featured a continuous, controlled and coordinated movement of the long sleeves.

The Han dynasty writer Ch'ang Hung (78-139) described this dance form in one of his poems:

Their vermilion slippers danced between plates and goblets

And they waved their long, dangling sleeves

With a curvaceous, cultivated bearing

Their lovely dresses fluttered like flowers in the wind.

Object Description  
Classification:   Ceramics  
Physical Description:   standing woman wearing a long robe with very long sleeves; woman holds her hands up in front of her shoulders; straight hair pulled back into a low ponytail; cloth-covered mount  
Creation Place:   Asia, China, , ,  
Accession #:   2000.87.1  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts