Vanderven Oriental Art

Warriors with Shields


China, Northern Qi period (549-577)
Height: 77 cm

TL Tested by Oxford Authentication, ltd.


- Private Collection, Belgium (2016)
- Vanderven Oriental Art since 2004

Detail Description

This pair of pottery warriors stand upright and have non-Chinese features, with fearsome expressions. Both figures are wearing armour, presumably made of leather, strengthened with breastplates, shoulder guards and cording.

They wear long flowing trousers with sturdy black boots peeking out from underneath. The right hand would have held a lance of some kind which has now been lost. The whole is cold decorated with reddish pigments. In their left hand they hold a tall shield decorated in the centre with a lions mask. In the Suishu (History of the Sui) – it mentions warriors accompanying the Emperor, holding shields decorated with golden lions’ heads. Perhaps these figures are representation of a similar honour guards serving the elite.

These soldiers would have been responsible for the safety of the tomb occupant. The foreign features suggest they were one of the many non-Han peoples residing in Northern China at that time., possibly from Central Asian origin.

Similar figures are in the Shanxi and Hebei Provincial Museums and can be dated 570 & 566 AD).


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Warriors with Shields