Qing Dynasty Sancai Glazed Musician on Horse


A Qing Dynasty glazed ceramic figurine of a horseman, shown riding a horse, which sits on a raised, rectangular base. The figure is portrayed wearing a sleeveless, long tunic, fastened to the front, and a hat, embellished by red fringes, which echoes traditional Qing officials’ hats. He holds with both hands an object, possibly the ancient Chinese musical instrument known as sheng. The statuette is rendered in sancai technique, displaying a brilliant green and ochre glaze.

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size.

Date: Circa 1644-1912 AD
Period: Qing Dynasty
Condition: Extremely fine, with original glaze and pigments still visible. Repair to both arms and right hand hand.


Grave goods were an important status symbol in ancient China, so the affluent and important would be accompanied in their travels through the afterlife with numerous depictions of people, items and animals. Such terracotta figures were made for the service and entertainment of the owner, ensuring that their journey in the underworld was a happy one. It was believed that these figures would serve and assist the deceased in the afterlife. Figures of this type are called mingqi in Chinese, and usually depict servants, officials, soldiers, musicians, court attendants, dancers and, in the case of animals, horses and Bactrian camels. As in life, attendant figures are depicted standing nearby, waiting to fulfil the desires and needs of the deceased. A musician figurine, such as this, accompanying the deceased in the afterlife was believed to act as entertainment.

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

Weight 1413 g
Dimensions W 21.9 x H 27 cm



Pottery and Porcelain