Tang ceramic production reached its peak with terracotta moulded zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures, known in Chinese as mingqi. Such statuettes would have been placed in Chinese graves, to assist, protect and entertain the deceased in the afterlife. Statuettes of oxes, such as this fine example, would have been placed in the deceased’s tomb to perform labour in the afterlife. Goods animals used on an estate were expected to carry on such work for their owner even after his death.
To discover more about Tang statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.