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Pavillion with Queen Mother of the West. Detail.
3rd c BCE-3rd c CE Chinese Han (Eastern) Architectural Decoration

EASTERN HAN DYNASTY Anonymous (25 - 220) Primary
c. 206 BCE-220 CE
3rd c BCE-3rd c CE
Stone
Han (Eastern)
Relief Sculpture
China.
New York. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
China22.chi03029
Filial piety was an important Confucian virtue. Here we see a depiction of the pavilion of the Queen Mother seated with her ladies, one of which is perhaps a petitioner. What is particularly interesting about this relief, however is not its political or familial ramifications, but rather the depiction of the architecture. Han architectural forms seem to have set a standard for many of the forms of later periods. Unfortunately there are no extant buildings from the Han period, but we do have depictions like this as well as models from tombs. The rubbing from the Wu family tomb discussed earlier shows an elongated two-story pavilion with spreading roofs supported by columns. This detail from the pavilion of the Queen Mother is a close-up of such a structure. Three features that we will see repeated in later periods, like the Ming example that follows, are the tile roof, the brackets that support the roof and the engraved curving lines that seem to imply painted decoration.

Caption: HAN (EASTERN) | Pavillion with Queen Mother of the West. Detail. | | Chinese | Han (Eastern)

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