Chinese Tang Dynasty Terracotta Camel


A finely moulded Tang terracotta tomb figure depicting a naturalistically rendered Bactrian camel. The animal is standing foursquare on a rectangular base and features two prominent humps rising from its back and a long neck, painted in black pigment, which smoothly terminates into the slightly raised head. The camel’s eyes and nostrils are recessed and painted with reddish-orange and black pigments. Its mouth is presented open, with tongue sensitively painted in visible red pigment. The camel is shown carrying a squared blanket with pleated draperies, to which is attached a small bag with six small rivets decorating the surface of both sides.

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size.

Date: Circa 618-907 AD
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Fine, complete and intact with original pigment visible.


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.

Weight 1825.1 g
Dimensions W 19.9 x H 28 cm


Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For Similar: Christie’s, London, October 2007, Auction 5099, Lot 1161