Chinese, Tang Dynasty
Foreign man, about AD 700 ‑ 756
16 1/4 × 6 × 5 3/8 in. (41.3 × 15.2 × 13.7 cm.)
Gift of the William S. Kahnweiler Collection, presented by his wife, Mary Steele Tillman, bequest
from the Preston Pope Satterwhite Collection, bequest of Mrs. Blakemore Wheeler, by exchange,
and the gift of Abby and Fairleigh Lussky 2001.16
Look at the position of this figure’s hands. They are not raised in greeting, but were probably arranged to hold the reins of a ceramic horse or camel. Both this groom and the animal for which he cared were made for burial, designed to serve their Chinese master in the afterlife. His facial features signal that he wasn’t Chinese, but from central or western Asia. In ancient China, expert foreign groomsmen often cared for horses and camels.