Female Musician with Lute, from a Tomb Figure Procession

Shaanxi Province

Tang dynasty (618-906), early 8th century

Tomb figures were an important part of Chinese funerary practices. The deceased was to be accompanied by everything his or her family thought they might need in the afterlife: animals, servants, entertainers, hunters, homes, officials, etc. Regulations dictated that what you took into the afterlife depended on who you were in this life. This elaborate set of tomb figures, including hunters, musicians, polo players, pack camels, etc. indicates the person was either of very high status or very wealthy.