Chinese Ming Dynasty Terracotta Horse with Rider
AGE: – Ming Dynasty 1368 AD to 1644 AD
CONSTRUCTION: – Terracotta
HEIGHT: – 34cm
WIDTH: – 27cm
WEIGHT: – 2.5 kg.
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This Chinese Ming Dynasty Terracotta Horse with Rider is a tomb object referred to as “Ming qi” or “spirit object”, made specifically to accompany the body and soul of a deceased person into the afterlife. The head on the rider is removeable, a feature in many of these ming qi objects and the tail has a repair (see image).
The Chinese Ming Dynasty ruled from 1368 AD to 1644 AD., a total of 276 years. It followed the Yuan dynasty and was the last imperial dynasty in China to be ruled by the ethnic Han Chinese.
From the Han dynasty (202 BC – 9 AD) – (25 – 220AD), objects made from terracotta and earthenware specifically for funerary purposes became more popular among the average Chinese population and were no longer a practice reserved just for the wealthy.
Prior to the Han dynasty human and animal sacrifice was also practiced but gradually declined during the Han dynasty. Objects placed in a burial chamber were determined by the wealth or station of the deceased. For example, a farmer who grew wheat would possibly be buried with a miniature copy of a granary, or a person who loved his horse may have had a miniature horse made from terracotta or earthenware accompany him or her into the burial chamber. A wealthier person may have a miniature replica of his house accompany him into the other world.
Usually familiar objects accompanied the deceased’s soul into the afterlife, thus making the transition easier as well as preventing the deceased from becoming a “hungry ghost “ or lost soul.