A painted pottery figure of a dwarf

Tang dynasty (618-907) 

The figure is standing on a circular base wearing a Central Asian costume hu with a folded collar. He is carrying a sack over his back. There are traces of red and black pigment on the head and coat.

13 cm high


A Dutch private collection


Dwarf figures were popular from the Han to the Tang dynasty. As they were thought to be incapable of rigorous work, they would often turn their physical limitations to humorous advantage by becoming street performers. For a further discussion, see He Li, Chinese Ceramics, The New Standard Guide, from The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, London, no.174.

A very similar figure is illustrated by Wang Qingzheng, A Dictionary of Chinese Ceramics, Oriental Art Publications, Singapore, 2002, p. 81.

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