Selection of Han Dynasty Terracotta Statuettes

£ 295.00

A selection of Han dynasty terracotta figurines depicting male workers in the midst of performing various agricultural tasks.


Date: 206 BC – 220 AD
Period: Han Dynasty
Condition: Fair condition. Earthy encrustations remain on the surface. Some minor perforations and chips on the figurines.
£ 295.00
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Terracotta figurines (tao yong 陶俑) finely executed in great detail were frequently found in Han Dynasty tombs as grave goods (ming qi 冥器), probably with the intention to further their services to the tomb owners in the afterlife. They reflect numerous facets of Han dynasty life from agricultural work, fishing, archery, domestic activities to musical performances and banquets. The prevalence of feudalism during the period, a system in which  serfs worked and lived on the lands of a local lord, made depictions of rural life very popular. Our figurines belong to the type – worker figurines (lao zuo yong 劳作俑) and more specifically, those involved in agricultural work. These terracotta workers are often depicted carrying some form of farm implement. Some popular classifications include figurines carrying vessels (kang gang yong 扛罐俑), hoes (zhi chu yong 执锄俑), sieves (zhi shai yong 执筛俑), willowing instruments (zhi yang shan yong 执飏扇俑) and fodder choppers (zhi zha yong 执铡俑), encompassing a comprehensive range of farming stages from seed to grain. Apart from figurines responsible for the farm work, worker figurines also included those that manage the estate – cooking, cleaning, fetching water, book-keeping and child-rearing. Regardless of the work assigned, the worker is always depicted smiling. Together they aim to channel the contentment of the people, the prosperity of the land and also a self-sufficient spirit.

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

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Pottery and Porcelain


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