Eastern Han Terracotta Architectural Tile - PF.6167 - For Sale

Eastern Han Terracotta Architectural Tile - PF.6167
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The Han Dynasty, like the Zhou before it, is divided into two distinct periods, the Western Han (206 B.C.-9 A.D.) and the Eastern Han (23-220 A.D.) with a brief interlude. Towards the end of the Western period, a series of weak emperors ruled the throne, controlled from behind the scenes by Wang Mang and Huo Guang, both relatives of empresses. They both exerted enormous influence over the government and when the last emperor suddenly passed away, Mang became ruling advisor, seizing this opportunity to declare his own Dynasty, the Xin, or “New.” However, another popular uprising began joined by the members of the Liu clan, the family that ruled the Han Dynasty, the Xin came to a quick end and the Eastern Han was established in its place with its capital at Loyang (Chang’an, the capital of the Western Han, was completely destroyed).However, even as Chinese influence spread across Southeastern Asia into new lands, the Eastern Han Dynasty was unable to recreate the glories of the Western Period. In fact, this period can be characterized by a bitter power struggle amongst a group of five consortial clans. These families sought to control the young, weak emperors with their court influence. Yet, as the emperors became distrustful of the rising power of the clans, they relied upon their eunuchs to defend them, often eliminating entire families at a time. During the Western Han, the Emperor was viewed as the center of the universe. However, this philosophy slowly disintegrated under the weak, vulnerable rulers of the Eastern Han, leading many scholars and officials to abandon the court. Eventually, the power of the Han would completely erode, ending with its dissolution and the beginning of the period known as the “Three Kingdoms.”Originally, this magnificent terracotta tile would have decorated the walls of a cave tomb traditional to the Sichuan Province. Imagine walking through a cave guided by a torch and discovering a room covered in such tiles. The prancing horses and running tigers would appear to move in the flickering light. Although the decorative designs and animal motifs that grace this panel appear to be incised, they have actually been impressed with molds or cut away in a low relief technique. Besides the horses and tigers, a court figure carrying a halberd, stylized phoenixes, and crane-like birds are also featured. Presumably, these decorations were chosen in order to surround the deceased with reminders of daily life. Of great significance is the calligraphic writing rendered in red pigment. While appearing to be modern graffiti, this writing is in fact ancient and details the particular placement of the tile within the tomb; for example, “Westside of the entrance,” or some such direction. This tile is an impressive example of the richness and luxury afforded to the deceased in Ancient China. Considering the enormous effort expended in the creation and placement of this tile within the tomb, we can assume that such a burial was only reserved for nobility or the wealthy elite. This tile is a perfect example of the great efforts exerted in order to provide the deceased with an afterlife full of the best and most beautiful reminders of this world. - (PF.6167)

Ancient Asian
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Seller Details :
Barakat Gallery
405 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills
Contact Details :
Email : barakat@barakatgallery.com
Phone : 310.859.8408

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