Eastern Han Dynasty Terracotta Barn Workshop, China ‘206BC – 220AD’ | Ex-Museum


SKU: CH-103 Categories: , ,


Slab pottery constructed barn workshop having a peaked roof – open walled form with a mechanical pounder and a large round covered storage container. Light blue-green mottled glazed surface with some iridescence patina to the glaze.

Condition: Intact, excellent condition, an unusual example.

Provenance: The Living Torah Museum, Brooklyn; ex. Sands of Time, 2002.

Sculptural effigies of domesticated animals were often interred in the tombs of nobility and elite members of the social hierarchy. Models like this one were made to represent everything from simple goat or pig pens to the most elaborate towers and palaces. Because very few ancient Chinese buildings have survived intact, these models, along with descriptions from ancient texts, give a good representation of what the buildings might have looked like.

This fantastic piece is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity by Muzeion Gallery.

Burial figurines of graceful dancers, mystical beasts, and everyday objects reveal both how people in early China approached death and how they lived. Since people viewed the afterlife as an extension of worldly life, these figurines, called mingqi, sometimes referred as “spirit utensils” or “vessels of ghosts” disclose details of routine existence and provide insights into belief systems over a thousand-year period. For the first time in Chinese history, we have images of rural and daily life during the Han in the form of contemporary records, numerous ceramic burial items and stone monuments. There is a rich array of hunting scenes, barnyard animals, houses, watchtowers, soldiers, entertainers, even kitchen stoves. Behind the proliferation of grave goods lay a belief in the depiction of both the real world and evolving concepts of heavenly realms and celestial beings.

Ultimately, funerary objects such as mingqi worked in concert with other funerary objects, tomb architecture, shrines, and spirit-road sculptures to achieve a goal that exceeded the well-being of the family.

According to Confucian doctrine, when every person performed their prescribed social role to perfection, the cosmos would achieve harmony. By ensuring the well-being of the dead, the living promoted accord in the celestial realm and in their own terrestrial existence.

The Han Dynasty is one of the great dynasties in Chinese history, encompassing nearly four hundred years of expansion and consolidation which coincided with the period of the Roman republic and empire in the West. It was the second imperial dynasty of China (206 BC–220 AD), preceded by the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC).

Spanning over four centuries, the Han period is considered a Golden Age in Chinese history. To this day, China’s majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the “Han people”.

Additional information

Dimensions 7.5 × 9 × 5 in


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