Figure of a musician carrying a water-skin

On display

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.


  • Title

    Figure of a musician carrying a water-skin

  • Associated place

    Yotkan (probable) (probable place of creation)
  • Date

    4th century AD (AD 301 - 400)
  • Material and technique

    terracotta, modelled

  • Material index

  • Technique index

  • Object type

  • Dimensions

    9.5 x 7.2 x 7.5 cm max. (height x width x depth)
  • No. of items


  • Credit line

    Bequeathed by Frederick Henry Andrews, 1958.

  • Museum location

    Ground floor | Gallery 12 | India to AD 600
  • Museum department

    Eastern Art

  • Accession no.


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  • Catalogue text

    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.

    In: Harle, J. C., and Andrew Topsfield, Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1987)

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

Reference URL

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