Small Ming Dynasty Court Attendant Figurine


A Ming Dynasty hollow-moulded ceramic court attendant standing up straight on a two-tier square base holding a teapot. The figure is portrayed wearing a Ming Dynasty Court attire consisting of a deep blue and turquoise robe tied at the waist. The left hand is only visible holding the offering, whale the right hand is hidden under the sleeve. The hair has been tied up with a red band in a traditional hairstyle, and the figure is wearing matching coloured shoes. The facial features have been rendered delicately, with clearly engraved eyes and eyebrows in dark pigments, with lips and ears in pinkish-red pigments, presenting a peaceful expression.

Date: Circa 1368 - 1644 AD
Period: Ming Dynasty
Condition: Good condition, with some earthly encrustation to the surface.


SKU: SM-66 Category: Tag:

Terracotta moulded figures of people and animals were meant to be grave goods placed in tombs. It was believed that these figures would serve and assist the deceased in the afterlife. Figures of this type are called mingqi (冥器) in Chinese and usually depict servants and court attendants, soldiers, musicians and dancers, and different animals. As in life, attendant figures were supposed to stay nearby their master, waiting to fulfil the desires and needs of the deceased. They were lined outside the tomb before the coffin was taken inside and then placed and arranged inside the tomb. The size and number of the figures in a grave depended on the rank of the deceased. These figures would have been displayed amongst the processional group within a tomb, most likely before a sedan chair or palanquin and before the musician figures. They would have served a ceremonial purpose – to announce the arrival of the tomb occupant. The palanquin, likewise, would have been used in the next life, carrying the deceased on his journey.

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

Weight 268.2 g
Dimensions W 4.8 x H 17.5 cm


Pottery and Porcelain


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