Model of a three-storied pavilion (Four of four elements)Artist(s)ChineseArtist NationalityChinese (culture or style)Object Creation Date25-220Medium & Supportearthenware with glazeDimensions
17 1/16 in x 11 ¾ in x 11 ⅞ in (43.4 cm x 29.8 cm x 30.1 cm)Credit LineGift 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. A tomb could contain anywhere from a few, to several hundred ceramic mingqi
Mingqi, of course included residential buildings such as this multi-storied tower. Most information we have of Han dynasty houses comes from architectural ceramic models and depictions on tomb bricks; only the foundations of a few Han Dynasty buildings have been excavated, revealing modest sized to small structures. Upper middle class houses were mainly one or two rooms, surrounded by a courtyard, and could be multiple stories. Houses of the well-to-do were heavily fortified with high walls, corner watchtowers, and covered, elevated passageways, and would have been confined to rural areas.
These ceramic models of multi-storied houses give important information about wooden post-and lintel construction during the Han dynasty. The majority of these structures are courtyard style walled residencies with a gated entrance; sometimes animals are represented in these courtyards. The houses generally have flat façades, with overhanging roof eaves supported by bracket sets, roof ridges with corner finials, balconies, lattice windows, open doors and occupants in rooms looking out, or on balconies. Commonly, a bird or owl is situated on the uppermost roof ridge as a conduit between the world of the living and the spirit world of the deceased. Physical Description
This is a a red earthenware model of a three-story water pavilion surrounded by a squared moat. Each story is similar in construction but graduated in size with the smallest story on top. These small single-bay rooms feature an arched door entrance below a post and lintel window. Figures can be seen standing on the balcony of the second story. The overhanging roof eaves display roof ridges imitating tile work. The entire structure is covered in a green lead glaze, with iridescence and calcification.
This model is a part of 993/1.73.1 through 1993/1.72.4.Primary Object Classification Ceramic Primary Object Typefunerary sculptureCollection AreaAsianRights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image
for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.