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Figure of a Soldier

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Figure of a Soldier

Artist: Unknown Chinese Artist Primary
Date: 618-907
7th century to 10th century
Dimensions: 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Object Type: Ceremonial Object
Creation Place: Asia, China
Medium and Support: Painted Earthenware
Credit Line: Gift of Leo Swergold in honor of Jane Swergold, Adjunct Professor, Department of Interior Design (University College), 2011
Accession Number: 2011.01.02
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries

This figure, in buff clay, boasts highly detailed painted armor, intended to replicate contemporary design. Straps secure the breastplates over the shoulders of the soldier, who wears a short split skirt with a “key” design. His simulated leather hat has a back flap, designed to protect his neck from the hot sun of arid Western China. His demeanor is stern but restrained, in contrast to the more fierce expressions of later Tang guards. The soldier stands in a natural pose, with his weight shifted to one leg. His hands likely would have originally held a weapon or banner. Military figurines appear in fewer numbers in Tang tombs compared with the preceding periods of disunion, although a wealthy person might have had his own military group.

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