Lot 18. A large painted pottery figure of an official, Northern Wei dynasty (386-534). Height 24 1/2 in., 62.2 cm. Estimate 30,000 — 40,000 USD. Lot sold 317,000 USD. © Sotheby's.
the tall, slender figure standing in an attentive manner with one hand revealed from the sleeve of the long dark red robe, fastened by a long tied white sash at the waist, the facial features well-defined with high, arched brows, heavy lidded eyes and a half smiling mouth, wearing the distinctive official's cap that was required court dress, traces of pigment, fitted box and wood stand (3).
Provenance: Mayuyama & Co., Ltd, Tokyo, acquired between 1960-1969.
Literature: Mayuyama, Seventy Years, Volume One, Mayuyama & Co., Ltd., Tokyo, 1976, p. 61, no. 1550
Note: Figures of this size are exceptionally rare. Two guardian figures of similar size and style in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art are illustrated in Annette Juliano, Art of the Six Dynasties, China Insitute in America, New York, 1975, no. 24. The figures are dated to the latter half of the Northern Wei dynasty, the first quarter of the sixth century. Another, of slightly larger size and also dated to Northern Wei dynasty, can be found in the Idemitsu Art Gallery, illustrated in Chugoku ko-dai no bijitsu (Art of Ancient China), Tokyo, 1980, fig. 155.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. New York, 19 march 2013