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. Terracotta warrior figures, such as these fine examples, were originally placed at each side of the entrance of the tomb gate, which was located at the end of a long underground ramp and used to expel evil spirits and to protect the deceased resting peacefully. Their fierceness as warriors and guardians is symbolically expressed though balancing on a reclining bull. Zhenmuyong statues were usually portrayed with ferocious foreign facial and anatomical features: to ensure the best protection for the deceased, such statuettes were modelled to represent the powerful foreigners that Tang Dynasty often have to battled with.
To discover more about Chinese terracotta statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.