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Figure of a Squatting Drummer: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Comical caricatures of performers were especially popular in Szechwan Province during the Eastern Han dynasty (A.D. 25-220). Used as tomb figurines, they provided entertainment in the afterlife, and an entire troupe might be interred with the deceased. Drummers like the one represented here specialized in a kind of storytelling that was part spoken, part sung. This one sings merrily, his brow wrinkled in laughter. His heavy body suggests he may be a dwarf. Performers of similar build appear on Han tomb tiles decorated with scenes of juggling and sword balancing.

Although ceramic Han tomb figures were mass-produced, this type is surely one of the most engaging and expressive examples of Han dynasty figural art.

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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009