Model of a granary

Accession Number

Model of a granary


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
206 BCE- 25 CE

Medium & Support

11 in x 8 11/16 in x 8 11/16 in (27.94 cm x 22.07 cm x 22.07 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Diana and Theodore Golden

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, and 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.   

Granaries such as this were symbolically storing grain for the deceased's afterlife. However, today these architectural models provide insight into what granaries looked like and how buildings were constructed during the Han Dynasty. 

Physical Description
A gray earthenware cylindrical granary, with bowstring decoration around the body, a domed lid with a circular opening, and three bear-shaped feet.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
funerary sculpture

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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architectural models
ceramic (material)
grave goods
models (representations)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 2nd floor ➜ 205 (Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery) ➜ Cabinet F ➜ Shelf 1