Figures of this type are called mingqi (冥器) in Chinese, and represented 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. Terracotta tomb attendants seemed to have first appeared during the Western Han Dynasty. However, it is during Tang China that the cultural tradition of displaying wealth in elite tombs reached its peak, with an increased production of terracotta statuettes.
To discover more about Chinese terracotta statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.