This work is on view.
2nd century CE
China: Eastern Han period (25-220 CE)
earthenware with green lead glaze
- Dimensions (H x W x D)
47 in x 16 1/2 in x 16 in
- Collection Area
- Object Type
- Credit Line
The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection of Early Chinese Art
- Accession Number
Multistoried towers such as this one first appeared in Chinese tombs of the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 CE) in north central China. These towers evoke the appearance of a new building type, a stand-alone tower designed to serve as a pleasure pavilion or watch tower, and constructed of wood, plaster, and tile.
In this clay model, the gate pillars, or que, bear a relief image of a guard at ground level and a phoenix--symbol of the south but perhaps also marking the entrance to a Daoist paradise--on the second story.
Once inside the gate, the moat is well-stocked with ducks, fish, crabs, and turtles, ensuring abundant food for the occupants. A seated man--possibly meant to be the tomb occupant--gazes out at us from the tower's first story. Above him, on the second-story balcony, appear three men in Chinese robes and three foreigners (the latter identified by their big noses, beards, and unusual hats). On the top balcony are archers with crossbows at the ready.