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Cabinet H: 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 set of five polychrome glazed male attendants carrying a sedan chair (2001/2.276).  One leads the procession while four carry the chair, all are on a platform. The leader is dressed in long green robes, and is carrying a rectangular box in front of him.  His hands are covered with a tassled scarf, and he is wearing a tall black hat.  His face is painted in polychrome mineral pigments.  The four attendants mirror each other: two on each side, their inside hands holding the sedan, outside hands at their sides, wearing long green robes and tall conical black hats. Their faces are painted with mineral pigments.
Chinese
Five Attendants
1368 – 1644
earthenware, glaze, mineral pigment
Gift of Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur
2008/2.275.1-5
An earthenware, green glazed sedan chair, square with four sides and a hipped roof. It has gold pointed finial, amber latice windows on the right and left, and an open front with a chair. Two poles run horizontally through the sedan chair for carrying by five male attendants (2008/2.276).  
Chinese
Sedan Chair
1368 – 1644
earthenware, glaze
Gift of Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur
2008/2.276
A small earthenware figure of a duck standing on two feet with head curved down, covered in a straw-colored glaze.
Chinese
Duck
earthenware with glaze
3 1/8 in x 2 11/16 in x 1 9/16 in (7.94 cm x 6.83 cm x 3.97 cm)
Gift of Willard A. and Marybelle Bouchard Hanna
A pair of green glazed rectangular chests on amber glazed dais, with amber central locks and handles on opposing sides.  
Chinese
Pair of Chests
1368 – 1644
earthenware, glaze
Gift of Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur
2008/2.281
A small earthenware vessel in the form of a bird, with a flattened round body, two wings, and an outstretched beaked head and tail.  There is a mouth with a direct rim on top of the body, and it is covered in a dark brown glaze. 
Chinese
Water Dropper
glaze on earthenware
1 in x 2 1/16 in x 3 1/8 in (2.54 cm x 5.24 cm x 7.94 cm)
Gift of Toshiko Ogita in memory of Tomoo Ogita
A small hollow sculpture of a bird resting on tripod feet, with a globular body, a beaked head, a curled tail, with peircings to the body.  There is a dark brown glaze applied to the top half of the figure.
Chinese
Bird-shaped Whistle
8th century
earthenware, glaze
Museum Purchase
1995/1.52
An earthenware miniature standing screen, mimicking wooden construction, with two vertical support beams and three cross beams on a platform with support brackets at the base.  There are finials at the top on both sides, and it is glazed in green and amber.
Chinese
Standing Screen
1368 – 1644
earthenware, glaze
Gift of Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur
2008/2.279
Chinese
Screen on Plinth with Finials
1368 – 1644
glazed pottery
Gift of Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur
2008/2.280
An earthenware figure of a kneeling woman wearing a long dress with an empire waist, her hair coiffed high upon her head, and arms raised as if once holding something.  It is covered in white slip and polychrome mineral pigment. 
Chinese
Kneeling Woman
600 – 632
earthenware, mineral pigment
Gift of Willard A. and Marybelle Bouchard Hanna
1991/2.16
Chinese
Small Bird
earthenware with glaze
1 1/16 in x 15/16 in x 1 3/16 in (2.7 cm x 2.4 cm x 3 cm)
Gift of Toshiko Ogita in memory of Tomoo Ogita
An earthenware figure of a small bird, seated with head raised and resting on its tail, stretched out behind. The figure is covered in amber and green glazes. 
Chinese
Small bird
earthenware with glaze
1 1/8 in x 1 in x 1 1/4 in (2.8 cm x 2.6 cm x 3.2 cm)
Gift of Toshiko Ogita in memory of Tomoo Ogita
Chinese
Seated figure of a woman with bowls (originally part of the furnishings of a tomb)
late 380s - early 530s
earthenware with traces of polychrome
Gift of Dr. D.K. Lieu
1950/2.11

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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>

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Last Updated

June 8, 2020 7:45 a.m.

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