**Originally Listed At $650**
East Asia, China, Han Dynasty, ca. 206 BCE to 220 CE. A hollow and mold-made terracotta figure depicting a lively pig with softly-modeled features such as sanguine eyes, drooping ears, a wide, pronounced snout, a hairy coat, and a curling tail. The figure stands atop four delineated hooved legs while pointing its snout towards the ground, perhaps to denote grazing or possibly sniffing for truffles. Size: 13" L x 5.75" W x 7.5" H (33 cm x 14.6 cm x 19 cm).
The Han Dynasty was a period of wealth and stability for China, and the burial places of their rulers reflected this prosperity - inside of burial mounds, hundreds and sometimes thousands of pottery figures were placed, recreating the daily life of the Emperor's court or a noble person's world. Tomb companions like this one are part of a class of artifacts called "mingqi" - sometimes known as "spirit utensils" or "vessels for ghosts." Mingqi became popular during the Han Dynasty and would persist for several centuries afterwards. Alongside animal figures like this one were musicians, athletes, structures…everything the deceased interacted with in life. Even though they were mass-produced, mingqi often show a high level of detail and naturalism. These were designed to assist the "po," the part of the soul of the deceased that remained underground with the body while the "hun," the other part of the soul, ascended.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: ex-Lotus Trading Company, Los Angeles, acquired between 1975 and 1980
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Figure repaired from multiple large pieces with some restoration, resurfacing, and earthen stabilization material along break lines. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, fading to some finer features particularly around the face, losses to areas of tail, legs, and body, and light roughness across most surfaces. Nice earthen deposits throughout.