AGE: – Ming Dynasty 1368 A.D. – 1644 A.D.
CONSTRUCTION: – Terracotta (will sell each separately)
HEIGHT: – 17.5cm
WIDTH: – 6cm
DEPTH: – 5.5cm
WEIGHT:– 400gms each
#60 – PRICE: CONTACT
Chinese Ming Dynasty Terracotta Zodiac Figures
These Chinese Ming Dynasty Terracotta Zodiac Figures are a partial set of tomb objects referred to as “Ming qi” or “spirit objects”, made during the Ming Dynasty specifically for burial purposes. Each of the figures holds an animal related to one of the 12 zodiac animals found in the Chinese zodiac.
These figures are representative of officials, each holding a different animal, one holds a dog whilst the others are holding a rabbit, rat, and monkey. The male figures are thought to be high priests or dignitaries dressed in the attire of that period. Figures such as these were made for funerary purposes to accompany a deceased person into the afterlife with each animal imparting their own special attributes to the departed in the afterlife.
Unlike the Western astrological calendar which is divided up into twelve months and based on the movements of the planet, the Chinese zodiac consists of a twelve-year cycle, each month of the year is represented by a different animal. Each of these animals represents the twelve different types of personalities under which animal sign they are born.
During the Tang and Ming Dynasty zodiac figures, were frequently made in human form holding an animal, in both human female and male form, or figures with animal heads and human bodies, today they are generally seen in their animal form made from different materials such as stone, resin, and metal and are symbolic in the principles of Feng Shui.
The precise origin of the Chinese Calendar is unknown, there are numerous legends and myths related to its origin, one of the more popular stories says that the Buddha decided to give every year a name so that it would be easy to differentiate one from the other, so he sent three apsaras (flying women with magical powers) telling them to invite all the animals to visit him, but only twelve appeared before him, as a reward he promised to name a year for each one of them in order of their arrival.
Another myth related to the zodiac’s origin stems from the myth and legend surrounding the Taoist deity referred to as the “Jade Emperor” the first Emperor of China, he is one of the most important and popular figures in Chinese mythology. He was the assistant to the Divine Master of Heavenly Origin, Yuanshi Tianzun, believed to be the limitless and eternal creator of heaven and earth.
View our collection of Chinese Ming qi