The Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25-220) was afflicted by political conflicts and social turmoil towards the end of its imperial power; yet, it showed great adherence to early imperial Chinese traditions and stylistic features in its artistic production. Both the quantity and quality of ancient Chinese terracotta figurines reached their peak in the Han Dynasty. During this period, a wide variety of terracotta figurines, reflecting different identities and services, were finely executed in great detail, and then placed in burials. Ostentatiously displaying such goods, known as mingqi (冥器) in Chinese, inside the tombs was not only to embellish funeral offerings, but also to further their services to the tomb owners in the afterlife.
The Han Dynasty was defined by an unprecedented growth of industry and population, which led to the establishment of a vast trading system, including the Silk Road. Merchants became an increasingly powerful social class, with some of the wealthiest individuals attaining roles in the government. Under Emperor Wu, however, the economic influence of wealthy merchants was significantly reduced, declassing them to a low-rank social status.