Title:Tomb Retinue DignitaryArtist:Artist UnknownDate:early 8th centuryCreation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip FundAccession Number:49.1.1
This set of ten figurines was excavated intact in 1948 from an imperial tomb at An Chia Kou, near Lo-yang, the site of the ancient T'ang capital in Honan province. The retinue comprises five pairs of figures: lokapalas, guardian warriors of Indian Buddhist origin often shown (as here) standing on bulls; ch'i-t'ou or earth deities, composite creatures with feline bodies, grotesque heads, flaring wings, and flamelike crests; civil officials; camels; and two exceptionally fine horses. The drip-glaze decoration was applied by a traditional T'ang technique called san-ts'ai(three-color). The retinue is remarkable for its large size, fine modeling, lavish use of rare cobalt-blue glaze, and the fact that it is apparently one of only two complete excavated tomb sets in western collections.