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Mingqi

CHINESE TOMB FIGURINES

BY
WILLEM CLAESSEN

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Tomb figurines of guardians

Gaurdians both glazed and unglazed are a major subject of Tang tomb figurines.

They were usually placed in pairs at the entrance or rear of the burial chamber, often in the company of two animal figures, see Earth spirits. Togehter, the four figurines may be the four guardian spirits mentioned in Tang texts.

Characteristically, the guardians figurines were military attire, a variant of the liangdang armor with paired circular plaques on the chest and sometimes on the back as well. These metal plaques appear recessed as if visible through holes cut in the leather tunic.