Model of a pigpen

Accession Number

Model of a pigpen


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
25 CE-220 CE

Medium & Support
earthenware with glaze

10 7/16 in x 9 13/16 in x 9 7/16 in (26.5 cm x 25 cm x 24 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Domino's Pizza, Inc.

Subject matter
By the Western Han dynasty, basic household bowls, plates, basins, jars, etc. were produced in great quantity, not only for use in daily life, but also specifically for tombs as mingqi 明器 (literally bright objects), or grave goods, as a way to provide for the deceased.  These mingqi included everything one would need during the afterlife, naturally, these objects reflected daily life during the Han.  Mingqi could include houses, towers, gates, granaries, livestock pens, chicken coops, wells, cooking stoves, storage vessels, dishes, incense burners, lamps and figures such as horses, dogs, anthropomorphic animals, and people such as officials, guardians, servants and entertainers, and more.  The number of ceramic mingqi items in a tomb could reach numbers of a few to several hundred objects.

During the Western Han, it was common for northern potters to create pigsties as mingqi. By the Eastern Han, a variety of domesticated livestock in their pens could be found in tombs. This particular model displays a variety of production techniques including wheel throwing and altering, molded parts, and hand sculpting. 

Physical Description
This red, earthenware, kidney-shaped pigpen contains one pig below a cylindrical tower shed with a door. It has peaked roof displaying ridges, and it is covered in a green lead glaze with iridescence and calcification. 

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
funerary sculpture

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
animal housing (farm structures)
architectural models
ceramic (material)
grave goods
lead glaze

7 Related Resources

Cabinet F: Shelf 3
(Part of: Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery)
(Part of: Tremel Ceramic Production Collection)
W21 Mueggler - ANTHRCUL 337 - Death, Dying, Afterlife
(Part of: Resources Made by Isabel Engel)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 2nd floor ➜ 205 (Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery) ➜ Cabinet F ➜ Shelf 3