Tomb Panel with Relief of Figures in a Pavilion

Period: Eastern Han dynasty (25–220)

Date: early 2nd century

Culture: China

Medium: Limestone

Dimensions: H. 31 1/4 in. (79.4 cm); W. 50 in. (127 cm); D. 8 in. (20.3 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1920

Accession Number: 20.99


Distinguished by her larger size, bird-shaped cap, and flowing gown, the figure seated at the far left represents Xiwangmu, the Queen Mother of the West. Thought to rule the land of the immortals (located somewhere to the west of China), Xiwangmu played a major role in Han funerary beliefs. The structured placement of Xiwangmu and her attendants in the pavilion is typical of later Han representations of heavenly courts, which under the influence of Confucianism, began to parallel the organization of earthly ones.