AGE: – Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD)
CONSTRUCTION: – Terracotta
DESCRIPTION: – Ming Dynasty Beijing Siheyuan House
MEASUREMENTS: – See image
WEIGHT: – 44.35
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This rare museum quality terracotta Ming Dynasty Beijing Siheyuan House was made specifically for funerary purposes during the Ming Dynasty. Mingqi objects such as these could possibly represent a replica of the house of the person in whose burial chamber it was found. Placing items that the deceased favoured, or used during their lifetime inside the the burial chamber was a popular practice in China dating back more than three thousand years. Almost anything one used in daily life, such as cooking and drinking vessels, a much loved pet or farm animal was made specifically for funerary purposes to ensure that all his or her needs would be met during the journey into the afterlife and beyond.
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The Beijing courtyard house developed over hundreds of years, reaching its peak of popularity during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and through to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).
During the Ming Dynasty Beijing became the cultural and political centre. Town planners specified specific regulations requiring houses to be built on a grid system. The walled courtyard house became the accepted style for this system. Almost everyone in Beijing, from the peasant to emperors lived in a courtyard style house, varying in size and ornamentation depending on their wealth. These houses were to serve many generations of the same family.
The courtyard configuration varied in other parts of China, depending on their climatic conditions and were built on the essential feng-shui principles regarding site selection to avoid cold winds that could blow the Qi (good energy) away, another was to be near water that brings and accumulates Qi.
Feng shui literally means “wind and water”. These elements in feng shui are thought to harmonize people with their environment to bring good Qi which then would bring peace, health, and good luck.
The design, layout and direction of the traditional Beijing Siheyuan house was important, involving many different elements such as the direction of the winds and rain, whether there was a mountain or river nearby that could possibly have a positive or negative effect with the natural flow of Qi (good energy) into the home.
The feng-shui concept of environment takes into account many factors, spiritual as well as physical and temporal as well as spatial, ranging from sky to earth and from human life to nature.
The typical Beijing courtyard house was a group of yards enclosed by one-story buildings, some dwellings included large courtyards suitable for gardens. This style of home was traditionally built along a north-south and east west axis. The building facing the north and facing south being the main house. The buildings adjoining the main section and running down the sides face west and east.
As seen in this particular terracotta Ming dynasty Siheyuan house, there was a partition inside the entrance. According to Feng Shui principles this was to thwart the dragon or evil entities who could enter and create mayhem. Often a mirror was placed on this wall, they believed that once the dragon saw sight of himself he would withdraw quickly.
The major goal of feng-shui is to find a way to live in harmony with heaven, earth, and other people. Traditional Chinese believed that the way to live is to unite nature and people as a whole. There is an old Chinese saying that “to be lucky, one must find good timing, a suitable place, and supporting people.”
To view a video of this amazing Ming Dynasty Beijing Siheyuan House