AGE: – Ming Dynasty 1368 AD – 1644 AD
CONSTRUCTION: – Glazed Terracotta
DESCRIPTION: – Ming Dynasty Green Glazed Terracotta Miniature Chairs (Mingqi)
HEIGHT: – 18cm
WIDTH: – 11.5cm
DEPTH: – 8.5cm
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A pair of Ming Dynasty Green Glazed Terracotta Miniature Chairs referred to as Mingqi or spirit object. These small clay objects were often copies of items that the people of the day used in everyday life, although they were not always in miniature form. Vessels and cooking utensils in their original size were also placed alongside the departed.
Whilst most Han and Ming dynasty tombs contained more mundane items which were considered useful and practical in daily life, those of royalty and the elite indulged in much larger more elaborate burial chambers, such as the famous Qin dynasty burial chamber discovered in 1974 by a local farmer which housed the famous terracotta worriers of Qin Shi Huang’s army, these were all life sized. Chinese Emperors, queens and princesses were buried with jewellery made from jade, gold, gems and clothing made from silk.
This practice of placing objects with the departed is thousands of years old, not only in China but also in many other countries around the world. In China placing objects with a deceased person was not only to honor the departed, but largely to ensure that their journey into the afterlife would be less frightening if accompanied by things that they were familiar with whilst living, as well as appeasing the spirit, to ensure that they wouldn’t become a dissatisfied and angry wandering soul referred to as a “hungry ghost”, bringing havoc and mayhem to the living.