China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Foreign Faces: The Mask Wearing Tomb Exorcists in Han Dynasty Sichuan

Friday, July 6
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Jacaranda I, First Floor

The study focuses on the masks worn by the tomb exorcists in Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) Sichuan. Though no actual mask used in the exorcism remains, the stone carvings and figurines of the tomb exorcists found in the Han tombs in Sichuan provide important information on the appearances and features of the masks used by the exorcists in funerary ritual. These masks exhibit significantly similar depictions of foreign faces with an exaggerated expression, which brings to question the prototype behind the faces and the expression.


Through analyzing the facial expression of the figurines of tomb exorcists in Sichuan and similar stone carvings in the area, the paper suggests that the depiction of the mask in Han dynasty Sichuan was influenced by foreign theatre, especially the theatre from Hellenistic Central Asia. It also discusses the development of these masks featuring the depiction of frowning together with the potential route and method for the introduction of foreign theatre to Sichuan. It is argued that the mask of Sichuan in the Han dynasty exhibits an important development in the technique of depicting the dramatic facial expression.

Xuan Chen

Palace Museum, China

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Xuan Chen


Assets

2 - Foreign Faces: The Mask Wearing Tomb Exorcists in Han Dynasty Sichuan



Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Foreign Faces: The Mask Wearing Tomb Exorcists in Han Dynasty Sichuan