In Ancient China, terracotta statuettes of animals and human figures would have been placed in the deceased’s tomb to ensure companionship and service in the afterlife. Statuary representations of owls were common in burial ceramics of the Han Dynasty period. Such animals, with their binocular vision and nocturnal habit, were deeply connected with rituals and magic, and therefore ideal animals to accompany the deceased in the afterlife.
Han Dynasty Owl Statuette
A nicely rendered Han Dynasty moulded terracotta statuette of an owl or bird. The animal is rendered in a stylised manner, with wide open eyes and clear features. The eyes are emphasised by blue and black pigment while the end of legs and tail are painted in black. Traces of red pigment to the beck and white chalk extensively to the surface.
Period: Han Dynasty
Condition: Fine, with traces of the original pigment visible.