The kind of dress with the long-sleeve is typical of dance performers. Until the end of the Warring States period, such dance performances were strictly relegated by law, and limited to banquets and festive occasions held by the court and upper classes. During the Han period, the rules governing dancing were relaxed and the practice enjoyed a wider public.
Compare other figures in dancing positions in the exhibition, Ancient Chinese Ceramics and Tomb Sculpture, J. J. Lally & Co., New York, 20 March-8 April 2000, no. 12 and cover; for a figure of a female dancer performing the long-sleeve dance, excavated in Bajiakou, near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, illustrated by J. Rawson, Mysteries of Ancient China, New York, 1996, p. 206, no. 108.
Oxford thermoluminescence test no. C299b26, 15 October 1999, is consistent with the dating of this lot.