The practice of burying wood figures began in the Eastern Zhou dynasty and flourished in the Kingdom of Chu (740-330 B.C.). A large number of wood figures have been excavated from Chu tombs in Changsha, Hunan. See Wenwu 1982:6, p. 78.
Compare the very similar wood figures, also painted with a broad 'checkerboard' design on the garment, unearthened at Wuchangyidi, Jiangling, Hubei province. As in the present lot, these figures are shown with their hands held either at the midriff or raised to their chest. See Teng Rensheng, Lacquer Wares of the Chu Kingdom, Hong Kong, 1992, p. 109, fig. 32:1-4.
Another closely related figure was included in the exhibition, Early Chinese art: 8th century BC - 9th century AD, Eskenazi, London, 6 June - 8 July 1995, no. 45.
More angular and perhaps slightly more abstract examples, from this period are illustrated by Fontein and Wu, Unearthing China's Past, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1973, pp.72-73, nos. 23-26.