Ming Dynasty Miniature Palanquin

£ 350.00

An elegantly constructed Chinese Ming Dynasty mould-made terracotta miniature palanquin, featuring an everted flange roof, crowned by a pear-shaped ornament, intricately decorated, hatched screens to the sides and rear, and an open front fact with stepped seat. The piece is glazed in bright ochre and green, the traditional colours for glazing used in the sancai technique. The palanquin, which was used in ancient China as a type of transport by the aristocracy, would have been originally part of a larger composition, including musicians and court attendants. Terracotta miniatures of this type would have been made for funerary purposes, buried with the deceased in the belief that he or she would need such items in the afterlife.

Date: Circa 1368-1644 AD
Period: Ming Dynasty
Condition: Fine, with signs of ageing to the surface.

In stock

The Ming Dynasty played host to some of China’s most renowned artistic achievements. The culture’s artistic explosion can be in part explained by the Ming dynasty’s economic success. Since the Han Dynasty, it was common practice to bury terracotta miniature of utilitarian and ornamental objects with the deceased; such items are known as mingqi, “spirit utensils” or “vessels for ghosts”. Mingqi were offered to assist and help the deceased in the afterlife, and they would have been modelled in the shape of cooking utensils, miniature replicas of houses and temples, as well as a range of furniture and other items. Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic terracotta reproductions were popular too, designed to assist and entertain the deceased and to recreate the world of the living.

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

Weight 1197.7 g
Dimensions W 13 x H 26 cm


Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item, Sotheby’s, Melbourne, 22nd October 2006, lot 402.

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