Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
Reference #: P9286
Dimensions: 8 inches (20.3 cm.)
Each figure standing on a small, graduated square base, dressed in a green-glazed robe that falls short of the unglazed boots, the head and high domed hats unglazed and embellished with details in black and red pigments. The figures displaying a variety of poses with the arms, some with a sleeve raised in a dance, others with hands together to hold a staff, others with tribute items.
Following the Tang dynasty there was a steady diminution of the production of tomb wares. A subtle cultural shift laid greater stress on acts in the present life and the creation of art served the aesthetic desires of the intellectuals and imperial court, making great strides in the all areas of the arts: painting, calligraphy, poetry, porcelain and sculpture. As a result of the waning demand for grave goods control of production passed out of the imperial domain.
By the Ming dynasty, burial rites involved fewer goods, certainly offerings of foods and the like but symbolic figurines were not always present and were often made of wood or even paper. Among its many items one Ming tomb lists the following wooden pieces: “16 musicians, 24 armed guards, 6 bearers, 10 female attendants” and various spirits. If pottery figurines were commissioned, they were most often made by the artisans who made the fabulous roof tiles and ornaments that adorned their domiciles and temples. Like the roof tiles, such figures were made of a high fired pottery and typically glazed with green, yellow, and aubergine.