Bactrian camels were popular animals in Ancient China, used to transport and trade goods along the Silk Road, between China and the West. They were often depicted stacked with bolts of silk, the primary export commodity in demand. Camels played a significant role in stimulating the economic development of the Tang Dynasty. They motivated cultural contacts and trade among ancient kingdoms located on the borders of Tang China.
Tang ceramic production reached its peak with terracotta moulded zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures, known in Chinese as mingqi, meaning ‘spirit object’. Such statuettes would have been placed in Chinese graves, to assist, protect and entertain the deceased in the afterlife. They may have been intended to perform a practical function (continuing to bear loads for their owner in the afterlife), or to serve as an acknowledgement of the deceased’s status as a trader.
For more information see the blog post on: Terracotta Tomb Attendants