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Asian Art

Court Official

early 6th century c.e.

Earthenware with traces of slip and pigment

23 1/2 × 4 in. (59.7 × 10.2 cm)
Gift of Maitland F. Griggs, B.A. 1896
The height of this figure and its long, narrow physique indicate that it once graced an elite tomb in or near the city of Luoyang, which was established as the capital of the Northern Wei dynasty in the late fifth century C.E. The tall, conical hat and high-waisted robe typify court attire worn by civil and other officials. The long sword suggests that this figure, who is not wearing armor, was tasked with overseeing the military. This sculpture was part of a retinue of retainers and officials placed in a tomb as attendants to the deceased.
On view
Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 C.E.)

C.T. Loo (Ching Tsai Loo, dealer, 1880–1957), New York; sold to Maitland F. Griggs (1872–1943), New York, by 1928; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1928


Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 76, 78, fig. 65.

Mimi Gardner Gates, The Communion of Scholars: Chinese Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New York: China House Gallery, 1982), 50–51, no. 16, ill.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 287, ill.

George J. Lee, Selected Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1970), 201, no. 405, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.