Tang Dynasty. Painting of female musician. Ink and color on silk. Excavated from the tomb of Zhang Lichen at Astana in Turfan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Museum.
Don't let the bright colors fool you. This is a very old Abelam female figure carved from a dense hardwood. Notice the unusual posture not found on recent pieces—the figure's knock-knees jut forward, the butt is thrust back, there is an overly elongated torso and the head is looking down. Newer Abelam figures are more straightforward, more rigid. The nose and ears are pierced and the sex clearly defined as on all pre-1940 Abelam figurative sculptures. This one is 68" in height.