Chinese Han Terracotta Rabbit Figurine


A finely moulded Han terracotta figurine depicting a squatting rabbit in an extremely naturalistic manner. Its head is slightly raised, echoing one of its lifted forelimbs, whilst the hindlimbs are presented in naturalistic and muscular outlines, evenly balancing the weight of its body in a well-portrayed squatting pose. It has two prominent, erect ears, with the insides painted in a pinkish-red pigment. Facial features are picked out in red and black pigments.

Date: Circa 202BC -AD 220
Period: The Han Dynasty
Provenance: From the collection of a West Country gentleman, formed in 1970s
Condition: Good condition, with some original pigment visible to the surface. This piece has been thermoluminescence tested at Laboratory Kotalla.


In Ancient China, terracotta unglazed and low-fired glazed statuettes of animals and human figures, known in Chinese as mingqi, would have been placed in the deceased’s tomb to ensure companionship and service in the afterlife. Mingqi were usually modelled as an intimation of either common objects that once played a vital role in Han Dynasty domestic life, or as zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures that were closely related to the deceased when they were alive. Zoomorphic terracotta figurines, such as this beautiful rabbit, with naturalistically rendered features and details, had been absent in Chinese burial history until the advent of the Western Han Dynasty. Rabbits were popular animals in Ancient China, not only as symbols of longevity and cleverness, but were also believed to be symbols of the moon.

Weight 3000 g
Dimensions L 30 x W 17.5 x H 29 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

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