Monday, March 23, 2009
So, we have a camel, a rider, a boy hanging on behind him, numerous blankets and provisions and two scrambling puppydogs. All in all, the feeling of an overloaded jalopy heading for parts unknown. Seems like there is too much of everything perched up there. Preposterous! But the rider shows such a powerful assurance you end up seeing that it's not really unbalanced at all, you just perceive the shifting load moving forward at a pace that will occasionally be interrupted. As a funerary sculpture, I suppose one function of this work, in its day, might have been to reassure that life's material and emotional necessities were somehow still within reach. But I honestly know less that zero about beliefs, burial rituals, etc. during the Tang (or any other) Dynasty, so don't take my word for it. From a technical standpoint, it is worth noting that this quite large thing is actually composed of ( I think ) 3 separate units, stacked one atop the other, and held in place by protruding elements, such as the humps of the camel. The small hole you can see at the center of the rider's fist would have allowed some type of cord to attach and appear to pull back the camel's head.