The Freud Museum

Female statuette

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3140, Female statuette, T'ang dynasty; 618 AD - 907 AD

Artist: Photographer: Ardon Bar Hama
Culture: Chinese
Material: Terracotta
Dimensions: 21.5 x 7 x 5 cm

Ceramic funerary figure of a female courtier that would originally have been
coloured and traces of an ochre glaze are visible on her lips, arms and folds of her
dress. Chinese burials of the Tang Dynasty included ceramic models, such as this
one, to act as servants in the afterlife as it was believed that the spirit would need
what the body had when it was alive in order to continue in the afterlife.

Freud noted in his diary ‘Coloured Chinese woman’ on 17 March 1933, which
possibly refers to this female figure. Certainly she was acquired before her two
neighbours as she can be seen in Edmund Engelman’s 1938 photographs of the desk. Of the three she is the only one with a base.

Additional information from Ro Spankie 'An Anecdoted Topography of Sigmund Freud's Desk', 2014

See this object on our Collections site here 

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