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Figurine of a Military Official from a Tomb

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North-Wei dynasty, 6th centuryChinacold painted earthenware

Historically in China, the dead were buried with items and figurines of people that , had surrounded them during their lifetime. These objects and figurines were placed in the tomb to insure an adequate afterlife. Therefore, these burial objects provide a good picture of the particular period. Tomb figurines of military personnel or civil servants like this one were often installed in pairs within the tombs of dignitaries. Their presence attests to the deceased’s high rank as a member of the imperial family. In the 6th century, the political administration was divided into civil and military devisions. This figurine has a striking and lively face and is wearing a cap, , he is also wearing a breast plate that is buckled onto the chest and back – a civil servant’s contemporary dress. This clay figure has been cold painted, meaning the pigment was applied after the clay had been fired.