AGE: – Ming Dynasty 1368 A.D. – 1644 A.D.
CONSTRUCTION: – Terracotta
DESCRIPTION: – Chinese Ming Dynasty Mingqi Green Glazed Table
TABLE LENGTH:: – 27cm
HEIGHT: – 16cm
FOOD OFFERINGS: – Average 5cm diameter
WEIGHT: – 2.75 kg.
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Chinese Ming Dynasty Mingqi Green Glazed Table – A miniature table with offerings made especially for burial purposes. The Chinese have from very early times held a reverence and respect for the departed soul and generally believed that given a respectful burial he or she will be happy in the afterlife, reducing the chance that the soul will become a wandering soul or hungry ghost. A wandering soul is one that is not at peace and may wish to cause havoc to those in the living world.
It was therefore considered a good idea in order to appease the soul, and give assistance whilst transitioning into the afterlife, to place in the burial chamber replicas of objects that gave him or her pleasure whilst he or she was alive.
Some of these objects would include functional items in the form of earthenware utility pots, tables, chairs, food offerings, jade jewellery, replicas of their home, animal figures that they may have used to plough a field, or those animals that helped assist in their livelihood, or were much loved pets.
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Those who were wealthy or of royalty were buried with more lavish items, bronze, gold, silver and paintings. Pre Han dynasty times even slaves or concubines were interred, often whilst still alive along with their master or mistress to take care of them in the afterlife.
Fortunately this practice ceased during the Han Dynasty and instead the living sacrifices were replaced with clay or earthenware figures, although there is evidence in the tombs of some Ming emperors that human sacrifice still existed, although they were buried in separate tombs nearby.
‘In dealing with the dead, if we treat them as if they were entirely dead, that would show a want of affection, and should not be done; or, if we treat them as if they were entirely alive, that would show a want of intelligence, and should not be done.
On this account the bamboo artifacts made for the dead should not be suited for actual use; those of earthenware should not be able to contain water; those of wood should not be finely carved;
the zithers should be strung, but not evenly; the mouth organs should be prepared, but not in tune; the bells and chime stones should be there but have no stands. These objects are called spiritual articles because they are created to honour the spirit of the dead.