Han Dynasty Pottery Rabbit
S O L D
Han Dynasty Pottery Rabbit. This exceptionally rare figure of a crouching rabbit shows the animal with head held low resting on its forepaws compactly modeled and smoothly contoured in a simplified naturalistic style.
Extremely fine, with original pigmentation.
Han Dynasty, ca. 2000 years old!
Wide: 14 cm.
Height: 7 cm.
Mingqi (Chinese: 冥器 or 明器, p míngqì), sometimes referred to as “spirit objects or “vessels for ghosts”, are Chinese burial goods. They included daily utensils, musical instruments, weapons, armor, and intimate objects such as the deceased’s cap, can and bamboo mat. Mingqi also could include figurines, spiritual representations rather than real people, of soldiers, servants, musicians, polo riders, houses, unicorns, and horses. Extensive use of mingqi during certain periods may either have been an attempt to preserve the image of ritual propriety by cutting costs, or it may have a new idea separating the realm of the dead from that of the living.
Mingqi served to provide the deceased with necessities and comforts in the afterlife. The deceased person’s po was said to remain in the realm of the tomb while the hun ascended to heaven. To appease and make worthwhile the deceased’s po, mingqi claimed relevant and liked by the deceased were placed in his tomb. Upon placing mingqi in the tomb, humans, according to the Confucian ideal, were harmonizing the cosmos by striking a balance for the comfort of the deceased who is also comforted in heaven.
The more mingqi one held to have the wealthier and strong social status one may have.