109- Western Han Pipes of Pan Musician Amber-Glazed

Western Han Pipes of Pan Musician Amber-Glazed
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  • 109- Western Han Pipes of Pan Musician Amber-Glazed
  • Object type: Ceramic Sculpture Human
  • Period: Han (221 BCE- 220 AD)
  • Height, Width, Depth in cm: 14x11x7

This small figure of a pipes of pan musician dates most likely from the period of the Eastern Han. This figure was almost certainly part of an ensemble of musicians and performers (as is, for example, a similar figure in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art collection). Unlike most Han glazed ceramics, these small figurines from the Eastern Han typically were amber glazed, though the Tsui collection has a rare small Han pipes of pan player with both an amber and a green glaze. This figure also shows traces of black paint around his waist and along the edging of his two robes. These small glazed figurines, both of humans and of animals (e.g. see the running ox in this collection) were often, as with the Sichuan peices from this period, powerfully modeled. But unlike the Han Sichaun figures which, while stylized, remained realistic, these small Eastern Han figures often have an abstracted expressionist quality to them. It's as though, for example, this piece is embodying the spirit of the music as much as the performance of it. The performer's head is thrown back. His arms are spread wide, almost ecstatically, as though he is being transported by the music he's playing. (See also a similar ecstatic expression on the face of the Han Sichuan entertainer singer in this collection). Brick reliefs in the Sichaun Provincial Museum and at the Beijing National Museum show considerably more composed pipes of pan musicians accompanying male performers along with females performers dancing with dramatically swirling long sleeves. Though modest, this small piece shows an especial attention to detail as in the the neckline edging of the overlapping robes and in the folds of the lower part of the outer robe and in the asymetrical fall of the musician's outer robe in the back.

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