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Roof tile figure of the Immortal Han Xiangzi



Height: 53.000 cm

Bequeathed by Mrs B.Z. Seligman

Asia OA 1973.7-26.387

Room 33: Asia

    Roof tile figure of the Immortal Han Xiangzi

    From China
    Ming dynasty, 16th-17th century AD

    A flute-player who stood on a roof

    There are many stories about Han Xiang, who lived in the ninth century. He was the nephew of a very famous writer, who encouraged him to study, but he was generally idle and good-for-nothing. He once wrote some poetry about flowers blooming spontaneously, and then produced the flowers out of the earth. Later, he became a pupil of Lu Yan, a Daoist patriarch, and was taken up into the peach-tree of the gods. He fell from its branches and entered into eternal life. He is now ranked as one of the Eight Immortals, known as Han Xiangzi, and is recognizable by his flute.

    This figure of Han Xiangzi is not a statue, but a ridge tile from the roof of a building. It is made of earthenware with sancai (three-colour) lead glaze.

    J. Harrison-Hall, Ming ceramics (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)

    S.J. Vainker, Chinese pottery and porcelain, (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)


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