We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Figure of a lady

25 CE-220 CE


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    Figure of a lady (mourner)
    Place where the work was made
    Eastern (later) Han dynasty 25 - 220 CE Han dynasty 206 BCE - 220 CE → China
    25 CE-220 CE
    Media category
    Materials used
    earthenware with traces of pigment over white slip
    42.7 cm
    Gift of Mr Sydney Cooper 1962
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    With her hands clasped within the voluminous sleeves of her costume, this is among the finest of the Han dynasty figures in the collection. Her distinguished demeanor suggests she represents a courtly attendant. Typically such models were made from moulds, the parts then luted together and the details finished by hand before the firing process. The figure was then covered with a white slip, which served as a base for the detail painting of which only traces remain.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 8 publications

    • Edmund Capon AM, OBE and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Asian Art', pg. 106-113, Sydney, 1984, 106 (colour illus.).

    • Edmund Capon, The Connoisseur, 'Far Eastern Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 22-29, London, May 1980, 24 (colour illus.).

    • Edmund Capon, The Australian Antique Collector, 'Chinese tomb figures in the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 96-101, Chippendale, Jan 1981-Jun 1981, 98 (colour illus.). fig.no. 5

    • Mr V V W Fretwell, Mr L G Harrison, Ivan McMeekin and J. Hepburn Myrtle (Compilators), Chinese ceramics, Sydney, 1965, 18, 34 (illus.). cat.no. 14, plate no. 3

    • Jackie Menzies, Early Chinese Art, Sydney, 1983, (cover illus.) not paginated. cat.no. IX. See 'Further Information' for text.

    • Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Tomb Sculpture', Sydney, 2003, 81 (colour illus.).

    • Jackie Menzies, Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Early Chinese Art', pg. 18-29, Sydney, 1990, 20, 21 (colour illus.).

    • Judith White, Look, 'Journey to the heart of China', pg. 17, Melbourne, Jun 1999, 17 (colour illus.).

  • Provenance

    Sydney Cooper, 1962, Australia, donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Jan 1962.