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Open Access

Sichuan Qin Player

Artist: Unknown Chinese Artist Primary
Date: 206 BCE - 220 CE
3rd century BCE
Dimensions: 25 x 16 x 11.5 in. (63.5 x 40.64 x 29.21 cm)
Dimensions Extent: includes instrument
Object Type: Statue
Creation Place: Asia, China
Medium and Support: Earthenware
Credit Line: Gift of Leo Swergold in honor of Jane Swergold, Adjunct Professor, Department of Interior Design (University College), 2011
Accession Number: 2011.01.01
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries

This seated female figure holds a seven-stringed musical instrument called the qin, or zither. Made of lacquered wood, the qin was designed to be plucked rather than strummed. First played for entertainment, as this figure does, this instrument was later favored by scholar officials and ranked among the “four great accomplishments” of gentlemen, along with painting, calligraphy, and chess. Actual musical instruments have been excavated from Han Dynasty tombs, indicating that music played a central role in the afterlife. The inclusion of replicas of such objects in burial tombs, then, was an indication of great wealth, learning, and taste. This figure originally would have formed part of a group, the gestures and poses of which would have related subtly to one another.


Fairfield University Art Museum, Fairfield, Connecticut, Immortality of the Spirit: Chinese Funerary Art from the Han and Tang Dynasties, April 12- June 6, 2012


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Refers to the culture, style, and period associated with the Han dynasty in China from 206 BCE-200 CE. Following the fall of the Qin dyansty in 221 BCE, civil war raged until Liu Bang, posthumously known as Gaodi, became the first Han emperor. Han was one of the golden ages in Chinese cultural history. The major art produced during this period includes glazed earthenware and bronze vessels, funerary objects such as house models, figurines of people and animals, and painted brick tomb markers.
Sculpture in the round, usually but not always depicting humans, animals, mythical beings, or small figure groups. Statues are relatively large in scale, being life-size, larger than life-size, or only slightly smaller than life-size. For small-scale representations of humans, animals, or mythical beings, use "figurines," "statuettes," or another appropriate term. For depictions of humans, animals, or mythical beings in media other than sculpture, use "figures (representations)."
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
Pottery with a porous body, fired below 1200 degrees Centigrade. It is not vitrified, and must be glazed to render it nonporous.

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