Friday, February 3, 2012

Women of Xi'an

The terracotta warriors (220BC) were, of course, amazing and I will be happily dragging friends through my photos for weeks to come. But in the huge and wonderful Shaanxi Provincial Museum next day, I found the first image I'd seen of a woman, dating back to the beginning of the AD era.

I know she doesn't look like a woman, but that was how they wore their hair then. She's probably a servant, or maybe a concubine, because of course she came out of a tomb. (The warriors didn't - they were guarding a tomb some distance away.)

Next came the beautiful Tang ladies (618-901 AD). I hadn't realised Tang was so early.

(Throughout my trip I kept asking Jonathan "What dynasty is this?" "Han, Mum" he'd say kindly. "Yes, but when was that exactly?" He was very patient.)

Here's a lovely one with a baby, and one on a horse, looking like a medieval demoiselle, and a close-up of another with a magnificent hairdo.

This wonderfully elegant one was labelled "Female in male clothing" - certainly the hairstyle is male. But Jonathan wondered if she might in fact be a eunuch.

And here are some more servants. The very thin one with a book is later than Tang, I think - Yuan maybe? (Sorry, Jonathan - I should have written it down.)

The two with a teapot and a cup are much humbler folk-art. Their companions behind them are country horseposts, but these two stood at the gates of a small estate.

We found them in the misty grounds of the Small Goose Pagoda. Then we went off for some lunch and our own pot of delicate green tea. Only we changed our minds and splashed out on a rare, expensive cup of coffee instead.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos and post Anne. Hope you are feeling much better now.