|Home > Artifacts > Sculpture|
figure of an attendant Ming Dynasty 1368 to 1644.
Tomb Pottery Figures
4th century B.C., the soul was thought to be made up of two spiritual
parts, which were co-existent, but separate. The Hun-spirit and the
Po-vigor. The living contacted the spirit world through the Po and the
Po contacted the immortals through the Han. It was of vital importance
to keep these spirits happy, as they were the agents for heavenly blessing
and protection without which the family could not prosper. The sacrifices
and ceremonies at the tomb were designed to ensure the Hun's safe passage
to the realm of the immortals and to entreat the Po to rest content
in the interred body and not to return as a ghost. The tomb functioned
as a gate to the afterworld. Here the relatives of the deceased could
pray and spiritually meet with their loved ones who has passed on. Rituals
and offerings accompanied these visits.
The origins of tomb pottery figures, Mingqi, lay in the need to find an affordable substitute for the massively expensive bronze and precious materials such as jade, silver, gold and precious stones which had been used previously to fashion the tomb objects. As the practice of placing objects in the tomb expanded, the impracticality of placing prohibitively expansive pieces in the tomb also became evident, thus promoting the artistic development of the terracotta tomb burial figures, Mingqi, which were fashioned by talented artisans using earth and fire to create a hew art form for the home of the earth spirit, the Po.
The quality and quantity of tomb burial objects reached a climax in the early middle Tang period during the late 7th to the early 8th centuries. Tomb burial objects were varied in type. Vesseles, architectural models, animals of all types; horses, camels, oxen and carts, farm and domestic animals, human figures in the roles of attendants, soldiers, guardians, court ladies, servants, dances, musicians, singers and humble market sellers all made up the drama of the tomb's theatrical setting.