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Cabinet G: Shelf 2

Mortuary Art from China

Throughout its long history, Chinese culture has continuously shown a special reverence for the deceased; this is rooted in the belief that the dead are still present and are able to influence life on earth. For many centuries, a tomb was considered a lasting home for the body, to be equipped with the same kinds of material goods that provided pleasure and comfort in life. Because buried artifacts are more likely to survive the passage of time, our most vivid and tangible understanding of ancient Chinese life often comes from objects excavated from tombs.

Ceramics have played a central role in tomb furnishings in many historical periods as storage containers for grain and wine and as ming qi, or “spirit goods.” Manufactured exclusively for tombs, ming qi are the miniature clay models of houses, livestock pens, animals, and humans that so delight us today for their charming recreation of village and city life. Ming qi first came into widespread use in the Han dynasty, partly as substitutes for human and animal sacrifices, but also as a reflection of a new, more practical worldview.

Guardian figures demonstrate another interesting aspect of Chinese mortuary culture. It was believed that after death the soul was freed from the body and could roam around the universe without hindrance; since family members did not like the idea of powerful ancestors, particularly those with unsettled grievances, wandering around freely, guardians were posted at the doorways of tombs to keep spirits from getting either out or in.

A gray earthenware sculpture of a crouching dog on a platform, resting on his two front paws, mouth open and pointed ears, long tail with curled end, with polychrome mineral pigments. 
Chinese
Dog
5th century
earthenware, mineral paint
Museum purchase for the Paul Leroy Grigaut Memorial Collection
1969/2.87
A red earthenware standing figure of Tianwang—Heavenly King, a Buddhist deity—wearing Tang dynasty styled armor including a helmet with flowing ribbons, elbow-length gauntlets, a cuirass with plaques, and taces, knee length greaves, and boots. The figure is standing on a rock-styled base, unglazed with traces of mineral pigment. 
Chinese
Tianwang
earthenware with mineral pigment
4 1/4 in x 2 1/8 in (10.8 cm x 5.4 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Caroline I. Plumer for the James Marshall Plumer Collection
A small, thin, earthenware molded plaque with a bas-relief architectural scene of a Chinese three-bay building on a dais. There are two slat windows and a hipped roof. A figure stands in the central doorway. The plaque is covered in a white slip.
Chinese
Temple with Buddha Votive Plaque
earthenware with slip
2 1/8 in x 1 7/8 in (5.4 cm x 4.76 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Caroline I. Plumer for the James Marshall Plumer Collection
A red, circular-shaped earthenware pigpen, containing one pig, below a cylindrical tower shed with a window and a peaked roof displaying ridges.  Stairs connect the shed to the pen.  It is covered in a green lead glaze with iridescence and calcification. 
Chinese
Model of a pigpen
25 – 220
earthenware, glaze
Museum purchase made possible by the Friends of the Museum of Art
1990/1.214
This red earthenware model of a pigpen is square, contains one pig at a feeding trough, and has a peaked roof shed to the side. The model is covered in a green lead glaze.
Chinese
Model of a pigpen
25 – 220
earthenware, glaze
Gift of Domino's Pizza, Inc.
1993/1.75
This is an earthenware model of an ox and covered cart. The ox stands on all four legs and is hump-backed with horns. He is painted in red pigment and stands in front of a two spoke-wheeled cart, which is closed and covered and painted in red, black, and white pigments. 
Chinese
Model of an Oxcart
late 380s - early 530s
earthenware, mineral pigment
Gift of Domino's Pizza, Inc.
1993/1.100.1-4
A brown stoneware, tall jar with a bulbous body and a tall flaring neck with direct everted rim, on a flat base. It has appliqué bands around the body and rim alternating with incised scroll work, combed wavy lines incised around neck and rim, and two lug handles with appliqué coil finials on opposing shoulders. The upper half is covered in a green ash glaze.
Chinese
Jar
100 BCE – 100 CE
ash glaze, stoneware
Gift of Mrs. Henry Jewett Greene for The Mr. and Mrs. Henry Jewett Greene Memorial Collection
1971/2.68
An earthenware female figure, thin and tall, standing with arms clasped in front of the body, wearing long robes with a wide collar, tied at the waist, with the fabric of her long sleeves folded over her hands. She has a round face with petite details, her hair is parted down the middle and tied up in a high chignon. The sculpture is covered in polychrome mineral pigments.
Chinese
Court Dancer
earthenware with slip, and pigment
11 1/2 in x 3 13/16 in x 3 3/8 in (29.2 cm x 9.7 cm x 8.5 cm)
Gift of Mr. William T. and Maria H. Carter in memory of their son, Charles A. Dickerman

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Part of 1 Learning Collection

Cabinet A: Shelf 1
<p>Selections from the Bohlen Wood Art Collection ...

Cabinet A: Shelf 2
<p>Selections from the Bohlen Wood Art Collection ...

Cabinet A: Shelf 3
<p>Selections from the Bohlen Wood Art Collection ...

Cabinet B: Shelf 1
<p>Selections from the Bohlen Wood Art Collection ...

Cabinet B: Shelf 2
<p>Selections from the Bohlen Wood Art Collection ...

Cabinet B: Shelf 3
<p>Selections from the Bohlen Wood Art Collection ...

Cabinet C: Shelf 1
<p>Selections from the Bohlen Wood Art Collection ...

Cabinet C: Shelf 2
<p>Selections from the Bohlen Wood Art Collection ...

Cabinet C: Shelf 3
<p>Inkwells </p>

Cabinet D: Shelf 1
<p>Selections from the Bohlen Wood Art Collection ...

Cabinet D: Shelf 2
<p>Inkwells </p>

Cabinet D: Shelf 3
<p>Inkwells </p>

Cabinet E: Shelf 1
<p>Selections from the James Marshall Plumer Collec...

Cabinet E: Shelf 2
<p>Selections from the James Marshall Plumer Collec...

Cabinet E: Shelf 3
<p>Selections from the James Marshall Plumer Collec...

Cabinet F: Shelf 1
<p>Mortuary Art from China </p>

Cabinet F: Shelf 2
<p>Mortuary Art from China</p>

Cabinet F: Shelf 3
<p>Mortuary Art from China</p>

Cabinet G: Shelf 1
<p>Mortuary Art from China</p>

Cabinet G: Shelf 2
<p>Mortuary Art from China</p>

Cabinet G: Shelf 3 
<p>Mortuary Art from China</p>

Cabinet H: Shelf 1
<p>Mortuary Art from China</p>

Cabinet H: Shelf 2
<p>Mortuary Art from China </p>

Cabinet H: Shelf 3
<p>Mortuary Art from China</p>

Cabinet I: Shelf 1
<p>Art of Islam</p>

Cabinet I: Shelf 2
<p>Art of Islam</p>

Cabinet I: Shelf 3
<p>Art of Islam</p>

Cabinet J: Shelf 1
<p>Art of Islam</p>

Cabinet J: Shelf 2
<p>Art of Islam</p>

Cabinet J: Shelf 3
<p>Art of Islam</p>

Cabinet K: Shelf 1
<p>Religious Sculpture from India</p>

Cabinet K: Shelf 2
<p>Religious Sculpture from India</p>

Cabinet K: Shelf 3
<p>Art of Islam</p>

Cabinet L: Shelf 1
<p>Blue-and-White Porcelain and Stoneware</p>

Cabinet L: Shelf 2
<p>Blue-and-White Porcelain and Stoneware</p>

Cabinet L: Shelf 3
<p>Blue-and-White Porcelain and Stoneware</p>

Cabinet M: Shelf 1
<p>Selections from the Dora and William Hunter Coll...

Cabinet M: Shelf 2
<p>Selections from the Dora and William Hunter Coll...

Cabinet M: Shelf 3
<p>Blue-and-White Porcelain and Stoneware</p>

Cabinet N: Shelf 1
<p>Selections from the Margaret Watson Parker Colle...

Cabinet N: Shelf 2
<p>Selections from the Margaret Watson Parker Colle...

Cabinet N: Shelf 3
<p>Celadon Wares in Asia</p>

Cabinet O: Shelf 1
<p>Celadon Wares in Asia</p>

Cabinet O: Shelf 2
<p>Celadon Wares in Asia</p>

Cabinet O: Shelf 3
<p>Celadon Wares in Asia</p>

Cabinet P: Shelf 1
<p>Celadon Wares in Asia</p>

Cabinet P: Shelf 2
<p>Celadon Wares in Asia</p>

Cabinet P: Shelf 3
<p>Celadon Wares in Asia</p>

Cabinet Q: Shelf 1
<p>Selections from the Ellen and Richard Laing Coll...

Cabinet Q: Shelf 2
<p>Selections from the Ellen and Richard Laing Coll...

Cabinet Q: Shelf 3
<p>Selections from the Ellen and Richard Laing Coll...

Cabinet Q: Shelf 4
<p>American Plaster Casts</p>

Cabinet R: Shelf 1
<p>American Plaster Casts</p>

Cabinet R: Shelf 2
<p>Apostle Spoons and American Silver</p>

Cabinet R: Shelf 3
<p>Modernist Glass and American Art Pottery</p>

Cabinet R: Shelf 4
<p>American Plaster Casts</p>

Cabinet S: Shelf 1
<p>American Silver</p>

Cabinet S: Shelf 2
<p>Tiffany Glass</p>

Cabinet S: Shelf 3
<p>American Silver</p>

Cabinet T: Shelf 1
<p>American Art Pottery</p>

Cabinet T: Shelf 2
<p>American Art Pottery</p>

Cabinet T: Shelf 3
<p>Native American Art</p>

Cabinet U: Shelf 1
<p>American Art Pottery</p>

Cabinet U: Shelf 2
<p>American Art Pottery</p>

Cabinet U: Shelf 3
<p>Native American Art</p>

Cabinet V: Shelf 1
<p>The Human Figure in African Art</p>

Cabinet V: Shelf 2
<p>African Miniature Masks</p>

Cabinet V: Shelf 3
<p>African Masks and Masquerades</p>

Cabinet W: Shelf 1
<p>The Head in African Art</p>

Cabinet W: Shelf 2
<p>Selections from the Helmut Stern Collection</p>

Cabinet W: Shelf 3
<p>Selections from the Helmut Stern Collection</p>

Cabinet W: Shelf 4
<p>African Masks and Masquerades</p>

Cabinet X: Shelf 1
<p>Modern Sculpture</p>

Cabinet X: Shelf 2
<p>Modern Sculpture</p>

Cabinet X: Shelf 3
<p>Modern Sculpture</p>

Cabinet X: Shelf 4
<p>Modern Sculpture</p>

Cabinet Y: Shelf 1
<p>Selections from the Fusfeld Art Collection</p>

Cabinet Y: Shelf 2
<p>Contemporary Art</p>

Cabinet Y: Shelf 3
<p>Contemporary Art</p>

Cabinet Y: Shelf 4
<p>Contemporary Art</p>

8 Collection Object Sources

Dog (1969/2.87)
Tianwang (1964/2.22)
Model of a pigpen (1990/1.214)
Model of an Oxcart (1993/1.100.1-4)
Jar (1971/2.68)
Court Dancer (1984/1.298)

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Last Updated

June 8, 2020 7:32 a.m.

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