Funerary figure of military official - ROM2005_1592_12


Funerary figure of military official

Medium:Carved limestone
Geography: Yongtai Village; Beijing; China
Date: before 1656 AD
Period: Ming-Qing Dynasty
275 x 95 x 66.5 cm
Object number: 919.1.30
Credit Line: The George Crofts Collection
On view
Gallery Location:Gallery of Chinese Architecture
DescriptionThis is one of a pair of gigantic figures in the ROM’s collection, which are both very fine and rare surviving examples of ‘spirit way’ sculpture. (For the other figure, please see 919.1.31) The spirit way or shendao is the pathway to a Chinese tomb. From the Han period on, the approach to an important tomb was lined with pairs of large stone sculptures of animals, humans, and architectural elements such as towers and pillars. These served and protected the spirit of the deceased, in accordance with his or her rank. The custom lasted for two thousand years in China, and spread beyond her borders to Korea and Vietnam. This figure is nearly three metres high and weighs more than four tonnes. It represents a fierce military officer resplendent in elaborate armour, with his hands resting on a segmented flail. As is typical of spirit way sculptures of men, he is shown standing respectfully at attention and staring straight ahead as if participating in a ceremony at court
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