Western Han Dynasty Stoneware Mingqi Lady Statue
AGE: Western Han (206BC – 24AD)
CONSTRUCTION: – Earthenware – the head is likely belonging to another statue
HEIGHT: – 70cm
BASE WIDTH:– 25cm
#4389 – PRICE: CONTACT
An impressive large Western Han Dynasty Stoneware Mingqi Lady Statue in the traditional Han dynasty style of the period. This statue differs in colour from other Han dynasty tomb ladies where the clay appears lighter in color. Also, the painting style in which this statue is painted is not typically seen on figures but is more frequently seen on Han dynasty ming qi vessels and cocoon jars. The head is likely a replacement and not the original.
A similar style of artwork on a horse figure is housed at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
The term Mingqi is associated with objects that were placed in a burial chamber alongside a deceased person. They are also referred to as spirit objects or funerary objects.
During the Han dynasty, it was believed that death was just a prolongation of life, a figure of a court lady such as this would undoubtedly be considered a companion to the deceased person in the afterlife.
During the Han, Tang, and Ming dynasties, it was a common practice to bury miniatures copies or life-size copies of almost anything a deceased person used or enjoyed in his daily life or considered useful in ensuring a peaceful transition into the afterlife. Burial goods could include a miniature copy of his or her home, a granary indicating his livelihood before death, cooking utensils and vessels or animals such as horses, dogs, pigs, and jewelry.
It is believed that the painted patterns on these funerary objects were intended to represent lacquer which was far too expensive for the average person to buy during that period.
The type of objects placed with the deceased was also a reflection of the wealth of the family. Grave goods of the royal or those of the wealthy were often objects that were used in their daily life, this could even include the sacrifice of a human servant or concubines or a favored musician; although this practice became less popular during the Han dynasty, other objects could include family pets and jewelry.
An example of this is seen in the Qin dynasty burial pits of Qin Shi Huang where archeologists found thousands of human remains that were buried alive with the deceased first emperor of imperial China (221-205 BCE). The Qianling Mausoleum tomb site of the Tang dynasty (618-907) also housed the remains of the family members of the House of Li.