AGE: – Ming Dynasty 1368 AD to 1644 AD
CONSTRUCTION: – Terracotta
DESCRIPTION: – Chinese Ming Dynasty Terracotta Horsewoman – some original coloured pigment still remaining, chips to neck, minor chips on the body.
HEIGHT: – 34cm
WEIGHT:– 2.5 kg.
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Chinese Ming Dynasty Terracotta Horsewoman – a funerary object referred to as “mingqi” or “spirit object”, dating to the Ming Dynasty, made to accompany the soul of a deceased person into the afterlife. As in many of these similar types of Mingqi objects the head of the horsewoman is a separate piece.
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.
Since the Han dynasty rituals involving burying objects made from terracotta and earthenware with the departed was popular among both the rich and the not so rich. Prior to the Han dynasty human and animal sacrifice was also practiced. The objects placed in a burial chamber was determined by the wealth or station of the deceased. A farmer who grew wheat for example would possibly be buried with a miniature copy of a granary, or a person who loved his horse may have had a miniature copy of a terracotta copy of a horse placed in his tomb.
Familiar objects were offered to the deceased’s soul to accompany him on his journey into the afterlife, thus ensuring the soul doesn’t become a “hungry ghost“.