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 pair of rabbits, 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.
To discover more about Chinese terracotta statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.