Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Figure of a musician carrying a water-skin

  • Description

    Collected by Sir Aurel Stein in his travels, this fragmentary figure plays a stringed instrument and carries a goat-skin water bag on his back.

  • Details

    Associated place
    AsiaChinaXinjiang Yotkan (probable place of creation)
    4th century AD (AD 301 - 400)
    Material and technique
    terracotta, modelled
    9.5 x 7.2 x 7.5 cm max. (height x width x depth)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Bequeathed by Frederick Henry Andrews, 1958.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Harle, J. C., and Andrew Topsfield, Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1987), no. 37 on pp. 28-29, illus. p. 29


    • Ground floor | Room 12 | India to 600

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Publications online

  • Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum by J. C. Harle and Andrew Topsfield

    Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum

    This is perhaps the most lively of the terracotta finds by Sir Aurel Stein in Khotan, and one of the few figurines. The light colour is characteristic of the terracottas from Yotkan, and so is the technique of the lightly incised eyes, but the bearded face is conceived fully in the round. Most of the detached heads found at Yotkan on the other hand are doll-like and flattened. The figurine illustrated here lends some credence to the judgement of a contemporary that the Khotanese, as well as being frivolous, were exceptionally fond of music.

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