Towers of this type were among the largest pottery mingqi placed in Han dynasty tombs. All are representative of the architecture of the period, although there may be differences in details. And the figures that people them can be both military and non-military, including officials, entertainers and female figures. Some hold crossbows while in others the crossbows are placed atop the balustrades, either in readiness for battle or in a gesture of peace. Compare two towers with similar architectural elements and similar figures, including dwarves; one illustrated in Sekai toji zenshu, Tokyo, 1955, vol. 8, pl. 12, the other illustrated in Zhongguo gudai bingqi tuji (Ancient Chinese Weapons - A Collection of Pictures), Beijing, 1990, p. 146, fig. 6-67. For a discussion of the types of towers and their uses see J. Baker, the catalogue for the exhibition, Seeking Immortality: Chinese Tomb Sculpture from the Schloss Collection, The Bower Museum of Cultural Art, Santa Ana, California, 6 October 1996 - 16 March 1997, p. 24.
The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminescence test no. C97m66 is consistent with the dating of this lot.