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Pictorial Brick Depicting Figures, Chariot, and Buildings
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2023.02.28 11:16:33

Period: Han dynasty(206 B.C-220 A.D.)
Measurements: L.90 cm, H. 43 cm
Provenance: Acquired upon Government Notice

Gray in color, impressed with buildings, the pictorial brick depicts a scene in which a high building on the right with two people seated face to face, one holds a ceremonial tablet (Hu), the other holding a walking cane with turtledove-shaped handle, with wine vessels and winged cups on the table between them, seemingly to be drinking; in the center of the scene is two ques gate with a doorkeeper holding a shield standing in between; on the left side is a yao cart and a guiding cavalryman. The blank spaces of the scene were adorned with four fish, two cranes, and five cypress trees.

Pictorial bricks originated in the Warring State period, and thrived throughout the Han dynasty. In the Han times, pictorial bricks were more widely used, and the themes of the scene were gradually secular which increasingly exemplified the daily life of the ordinary people. The burial concept “Serve the dead as they are living” was highly prized in Han dynasty, consequently the underground home just like the real one was meticulously constructed for the afterlife, and the varied scenes of life, such as pavilion, watchtower que gate, residential complex, granary, kitchen, feasting, acrobatics, and other diverse performances, were represented on the pictorial bricks. The survived examples were deemed to be the living fossils depicting the social life of the Han times, and the historical records of the custom of the ages, as well as the key evidence witnessing the evolution of the burial practice of Han dynasty.