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Chinese Tomb Figurines

August 13, 1999 - August 13, 1999

Since ancient times, the Chinese have believed souls in tomb chambers have the same needs in the afterlife as they do in this world. Ceramic tomb figurines were placed in ancient Chinese grave chambers to serve as surrogate companions and servants for the master in the next life. The statues offer unrivalled material for the study of daily life from various dynasties throughout China’s long history. These clay figures reveal the different classes of people, their costumes, hairstyles, armour, musical instruments, dances, animals, mythical creatures, architectural models and funerary furniture and utensils.

The exhibition features funerary items from the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), North Wei dynasty (386 – 534), Tang dynasty (618– 906), Song dynasty (960 – 1279), and Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644). Objects include male and female attendants, dancers, musicians, warriors, a retinue of Song period officials, a set of Tang Zodiac figures and examples of early architectural models.

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