Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back
Currently shown

Funerary Statuette: Horse

Location

NORTH CENTRAL CHINA

Era

Tang dynasty (618-907 C.E.)

Title

Funerary Statuette: Horse

Date

8th c.

Materials

Earthenware, three-colour lead glaze (sancai)

Dimensions

49.5 x 15 x 46 cm

Credits

Purchase, subscription, inv. 1918.Ed.4

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

The display of wealth, both in this world and in the hereafter, was widespread during the Tang dynasty. Earthenware figurines such as this one were transported on carts as part of elaborate funeral processions that led to the deceased’s tomb. Three-colour (sancai) figurines became symbols of affluence and status, with one-upmanship being the driving force of their mass-production and display. The body was made with two moulds joined vertically. Once the piece was removed from the moulds, the joints were camouflaged with relief elements. In response to the frenzy of consumption surrounding funerals, an imperial edict was eventually issued to put a stop to these costly and ostentatious displays. Limits were set as to the number, size and quality of the figurines based on the rank of the deceased. As a result, it is now possible to determine the social status of a tomb’s occupant.

Add a touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation