During the Ming dynasty, monumental stone sculptures of animals and civil and military officials lined the avenues to imperial tombs. This carved head with the austere face of a senior court official was originally part of one of these larger than life sculptures. His neatly groomed moustache and plump solemn face suggest wealth, affluence and power. As statues of this type were associated with the royal courts, it was essential that they appeared to overwhelm and dominate the populace.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label