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- Tang Dynasty, 618 - 907 AD
- Earthenware with pigment
- 41 cm
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This nobleman is standing with his clasped hands joined in front of him. He is wearing a long robe, with wide sleeves. His face has the original painting of the period. The nobleman is a mingqi, a 'spirit object', which were placed in the tombs of the wealthy in Northern China during the Tang Dynasty. It was believed that life after death was a continuation of the present life, and therefore the deceased was provided with all the objects necessary to continue living after death.
Depicting the pleasures of daily life, mingqi were offerings to ensure special treatment, often in the form of court ladies, dancers, musicians, and horses. The mingqi have a documentary value and a purely aesthetic seduction: they bring an entire society alive again, with its majestic, frivolous or picturesque personages. Ancestor worship was very important, for the welfare of the deceased and for the welfare of the entire family.