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- Tang Dynasty, 618 - 907 AD
- Earthenware with pigment
- 49 cm
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A painted white pottery model of a bactrian camel, standing four square on a rectangular base with head raised, facing forwards, modelled with saddle cloth draped over its back with saddle bags. There are traces of red pigment remaining. Camels were used for carrying goods on, among others, the Silk Road. Depictions of camels in Chinese tomb sculpture are commonly found.
The camel is part of the burial rituals in the Chinese Tang Dynasty. High-ranking persons were buried with mingqi 'spirit goods'. 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, such as terracotta animals, food, clothing, valuables, as well as warriors, musicians and guardians. The tombs were designed architecturally so that, together with the objects, they provided both a comfortable final resting place as well as a safe journey for the deceased into the afterlife. Ancestor worship was very important, for the welfare of the deceased and for the welfare of the entire family. In the period of the Tang Dynasty the number of objects that could be included in tombs depended on the individual's rank.