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Funerary Pillars Of The Han Dynasty

951 words - 4 pages

As I viewed these funerary pillars from the Han dynasty, I noticed that the tops of their heads were flat. This indicated to me that they may have been used as a support system to hold up something. This led me to believe they may have been part of an entrance to a Han dynasty tomb.
The pillar to the left shows an image that appears to be a human-like being holding a stone tablet while sitting on top of a pillar. I could not read what was on this tablet, so I was unable to have it translated. I did note that it appears to have four characters engraved on it. Since languages change over time, I found it difficult to decipher the message. I have discovered that many of these inscriptions are relevant to the person who was buried at the site. The pillar to the right shows an image that appears to be a human-like being holding something up with his or her hands.
These sculptures appear to be in breath form due to the oversized stomach; indicating air in the stomach from inhaling. These sculptures appear to have high relief imagery as well. They are sculpted all the way around instead of having a backing. These sculptures also appeared to never have had any paint or lacquer on them. This is indicative of the lackof remnants on the sculptures. The pillars that these human-like beings were sitting on have intricate detail. The one to the left has more detail to view. I assume this is because over time the detail may have been worn off. Based on my examination of this sculpture, I believe this detail comes from being stamped or possibly carved.

Artistic Research
I researched other funerary pillars that have been discovered from the Han dynasty era. I discovered one that was a decoration on tombs of the Han dynasty (221 BC-AD 220). It is a reliable source of information about the everyday life in that era. Molded or incised terracotta bricks illustrated practices, architecture, customs, myths and legends. This pillar was used within a tomb to hold up the lintel of a doorway. A lintel is a stone that lies atop a doorway and bears the weight of the structure above it according to Mirriam-Webster’s dictionary. It may have been positioned on either side of a set of doors, creating the illusion of a house entrance. The kneeling figure on top was used to ward off evil. He or she is oddly disproportioned, however complete. His or her feet appear on either side of the pillar and his or her hands are carved on the front. A figure of a bird in flight is noted between the legs. The lines from this bird are indicated on each side of the pillar possibly as decoration. On the front of the two columns are dragons that appear to be climbing. Surrounding the lines and decorative pictures are borders with a...

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