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Updated: 27 April 2015
Bronze figures of two wrestlers. These small, semi-naked figures are arranged in corresponding poses, but facing away from each other. They are shown with knees bent, bottoms out, backs straight, each gripping the other's right hand, while with their left hands they hold the other's belt.
- 5thC BC-4thC BC (circa)
- Made in: ChinaPossibly from the South
- Height: 11.5 centimetres
Apart from tomb figurines, human sculpture was rare in China before the arrival of Buddhism from India. Chinese craftsmen were capable of rendering the human form but most bronze effigies were made as details for decorating larger ritual bronze vessels. For example, men appear in miniature as supports for ritual water basins, food containers, and lamps, or as decoration on door catches or chariot fittings. It is quite likely thai these figures performed a similar function.
Wrestling and acrobatics were popular in ancient China, as is clear from the later inclusion of this subject on painted lacquer wares and on moulded tomb bricks.
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
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Object reference number: RRC14610
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