Tang Dynasty Terracotta Camel


A finely modelled hollow-mould terracotta Tang two-humped camel, shown kneeling, balancing its body weight by bending its front legs while keeping its back legs standing straight. The camel carries popular items used in ancient Silk Road trade, such as bolts of silk, drinking vessels and different bags. The majority of the original white slip remains, with additional red and black pigments used to pick out details of the features, such as the trappings, the alert pupils, the bolts of silk and the mane. Anatomical features are rendered in a naturalistic manner, with much attention given to details.


Date: Circa AD 618-906
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Excellent condition. This piece has been thermoluminescence tested, no. 17CM160919, at Laboratory Kotalla.


Bactrian camels were popular animals in Ancient China, used to transport and trade goods along the Silk Road, between China and the West. Terracotta statuettes of camels are usually stacked with bolts of silk, the primary export commodity in demand outside of 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.

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




Weight 3850 g
Dimensions L 28 x W 13.5 x H 30 cm

Pottery and Porcelain