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.