Eastern Han Dynasty Rooster Statuette


A finely moulded Eastern Han Dynasty terracotta statuette of a cockerel, shown resting on a short cylindrical base. The bird is portrayed in a dormant position, with its head lowered and resting on its back. Its features are executed in a naturalistic manner: a long raised tail, full wings kept close to the body, and a tall comb above its head. Traces of the original red pigments visible to the surface.

Date: Circa AD 25-220
Period: Eastern Han Dynasty
Condition: Fine condition, with traces of the original pigments remaining on the surface.


SKU: MG-278 Category: Tags: , , ,

The Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25-220) was afflicted by political conflicts and social turmoil towards the end of its imperial power; yet, it showed great adherence to early imperial Chinese traditions and stylistic features in its artistic production. Both the quantity and quality of ancient Chinese terracotta figurines reached their peak in the Han Dynasty. During this period, a wide variety of terracotta figurines, reflecting different identities and services, were finely executed in great detail, and then placed in burials. Ostentatiously displaying such goods, known as mingqi (冥器) in Chinese, inside the tombs was not only to embellish funeral offerings, but also to further their services to the tomb owners in the afterlife. Mingqi were usually modelled as an intimation of either common objects that once played a vital role in the domestic life, or as zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures, that were closely related to the deceased when they were alive. Zoomorphic terracotta figurines with naturalistically rendered features and details had been absent in Chinese burial history until the advent of the Western Han Dynasty. Pottery images of roosters were common in ancient China, since the rooster was not only common domestic animal but also one of the zodiac signs.

To discover more about Chinese terracotta statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.

Weight 45 g
Dimensions L 6.2 x H 4.1 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

Reference: For similar: The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, item CIRC.44-1935

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