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Artwork Details

earthenware with glaze
13 1/8 in x 14 3/16 in x 6 7/8 in (33.34 cm x 36.04 cm x 17.46 cm)
Museum purchase made possible by the Friends of the Museum of Art

On Display

Not currently on display


Subject Matter:

By the Western Han dynasty, basic household bowls, plates, basins, jars, etc. were produced in great quantity, not only for use in daily life, but also specifically for tombs as mingqi (明器), literally "bright objects", or grave goods, as a way to provide for the deceased.  These mingqi included everything one would need during the afterlife. Naturally, these objects reflected daily life during the Han. Mingqi could include houses, towers, gates, granaries, livestock pens, chicken coops, wells, cooking stoves, storage vessels, dishes, incense burners, lamps and figures such as horses, dogs, anthropomorphic animals, and people such as officials, guardians, servants and entertainers, and more. The number of ceramic mingqi items in a tomb could reach numbers of a few to several hundred objects.   

Storehouses such as this were symbolically storing grain for the deceased's afterlife. However, today these architectural models provide insight as to what architecture looked like and how buildings were constructed during the Han Dynasty. 

Physical Description:

A red, four-sided rectangular earthenware structure in the form of a three-bay storehouse with a peaked roof and ridgeline. Post and lintel details from wooden architecture, with double open doors, on four bear-shaped stilts. The model is covered with a green lead glaze, with iridescence and calcification. 

Usage Rights:

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