Entre 618 et 907
Terre cuite, Moulage, Polychromie
Statuette, Mingqi
Don manuel : Zuellig, Stephen; Zuellig, Gilbert

M.C. 2001-11

In this group of figures of young women on horseback, seven are playing an instrument, each one different: a vertical flute (dizi), a small harp (konghou), a transverse flute (hengdi), an unusually shaped lute (pipa), an hourglass drum (yaogu), panpipes (paixiao), a mouth organ with a curved mouthpiece (sheng). The eighth horsewoman, who does not have an instrument, may have been holding one that has been lost, perhaps a large harp, set on a base that has left a visible groove on the right thigh.
These horsewomen, dressed in Western-style garments (huyi), have round heads with full cheeks. This facial type prefigures the full forms made fashionable in the mid 8th century by the concubine Yang Yuhuan. Their hair is arranged in two plaits, curled up at the temples as men wore them. The eyes incised in a single stroke and the small mouth give each of the figures a different but always pleasant and smiling expression.
In their size, hair style and beige, orange, carmine, black and green polychrome, these statuettes bring to mind the group of female musician-horsewomen discovered in 1991 at Xinzhuxiang, in the eastern suburbs of Xi'an, from the tomb furnished in 689 to 690 for Yu Yin (died 689), a high-ranking court official, and his wife, the princess Jinxiang (died 722), granddaughter of Gaozu, founder of the Tang dynasty.

Reference(s) : Eric Lefebvre, Art chinois, Musée Cernuschi, acquisitions 1993-2004, Paris Musées / Findakly, 2005, p. 104-105.
Gilles Béguin, Activités du musée Cernuschi, Arts asiatiques, 2002 , t.57, p.174-175. 
Gilles Béguin, Le petit peuple des tombes, Paris Musées, 2010, p.60.