Bactrian camels were popular animals in Ancient China, used to transport and trade goods along the Silk Road, between China and the West. Camels played a significant role in stimulating the economic developments of Tang Dynasty and motivating the cultural contacts among the ancient kingdoms located on the borders of Tang China. 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 Chinese terracotta statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.