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Collection

An image of Architectural tower: tomb model by

Henan Province, China

Title
Architectural tower: tomb model
Other titles:
Model of a Watchtower
Watchtower
Place of origin
Henan ProvinceChina
Period
Han dynasty 206 BCE - 220 CE → China
Year
1st century-2nd century
Media category
Ceramic
Materials used
earthenware with a low fired green lead glaze
Dimensions

144.8 x 38.5 x 38.5 cm:

a - top; 39 x 35 x 33 cm

b - upper middle; 34 x 35 x 33 cm

c - middle; 35.4 x 38.5 x 38.5 cm

d - lower middle; 52 x 34.5 x 33.3 cm

e - base; 26.4 x 27.7 x 16.5 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Edward and Goldie Sternberg Chinese Art Purchase Fund 1992
Accession number
308.1992.a-e
Location
Not on display
Further information

Pottery models of buildings, horses and other animals, military personnel, servants and courtiers were made to furnish the tombs of rulers and royalty in early China. Thus endowed, the tomb became a replica of the deceased's life on earth. Pottery facsimiles or 'mingqi' have become the most illustrative and evocative images of life in ancient China, as well as a poignant demonstration of the Chinese belief in the afterlife. The production of these pottery models stimulated one of China's most distinctive and unique artistic traditions, which flourished during the Han and Tang dynasties. This unusually large model of a four-storey watchtower is manned by guards holding crossbows on the lower level, and by alert and watchful sentinels above. Every architectural detail is observed: in the circular roof tile ends, the ornate quatrefoil ornaments on the corners, the door and gate fittings and the overall construction methods. Since most Han dynasty buildings were constructed from wood and have not therefore survived, such models are the most accurate records of architecture in early dynastic China.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg.247.

Bibliography (16)

Angelo Calandra and Grace Ciavarella, SOSE: Studies of society and environment, 'Everyday life under the Han Dynasty', pg. 118-119, Milton, 2000, 118 (colour illus.). Secondary school text book.

Yin Cao, The Connoisseur and the Philanthropist: 30 years of the Sternberg Collection, 'Chinese Art', pg. 12-23, Sydney, 31 Jan 2014, 14 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon, Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'Goldie Sternberg 1921-2003', pg. 23, Newtown, May 2003, 23 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon, Look, 'Great Gifts: Great Patrons', pg. 20-21, Heidelberg, Aug 1994, 20 (colour illus.), 21.

Edmund Capon, The Connoisseur and the Philanthropist: 30 years of the Sternberg Collection, 'The connoisseur and the philanthropist: the creation of a collection', pg. 5- 10., Sydney, 31 Jan 2014, 5.

Joanna Capon, Art and Australia (Vol. 41, No. 4), 'Goldie Sternberg. Benefactor', pg. 618-620, Paddington, Jun 2004-Aug 2004, 618-619, 620 (colour illus.).

Willow Weilan Hai, Art of China, 'The Schloss Collection', pg. 32, Hong Kong, Jan 1992, 32. This reference was provided by L. Schloss.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 247 (colour illus.). See 'Further Information' for text.

Candace Lewis (Curator), Into the afterlife: Han and Six dynasties Chinese tomb sculpture from the Schloss Collection, Poughkeepsie, 1990, cover page (colour illus.). plate no. 23

Candace J. Lewis, Spirit of Han, 'Tall pottery, towers, and their archaeological contexts', pg. 56, Singapore, 1991, 56. This reference was provided by L. Schloss.

Candace J. Lewis, Orientations, 'Tall towers of the Han', pg. 45-54, Hong Kong, Aug 1990, 50, 51 (colour illus.) 52-54.. fig.no. 10

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Tomb Sculpture', Sydney, 2003, 80 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, The Art Gallery of New South Wales Collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 190 (colour illus.).

Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, Asian Art Galley New Courses, Heidelberg, Feb 1998, 20 (colour illus.).

Judith White, Look, 'Bringing Australia Asian culture', pg. 36-37, South Yarra, Apr 2000, 37 (colour illus.).

unknown author, Retro active 1: Stage 4 World History, 'Everyday life under the Han Dynasty', pg. 126-127, Milton, 1999, 126 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (2)

Into the afterlife: Han and Six dynasties Chinese tomb sculpture from the Schloss Collection, Vassar College Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie, NY, Poughkeepsie, 28 Sep 1990–25 Nov 1990

The connoisseur and the philanthropist: 30 years of the Sternberg Collection of Chinese Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 Jan 2014–27 Apr 2014