Owl Figure, With Detachable Head
- Object Number: 1937.P.572
- Simple Name: jug
- Full Name: owl jug
- Other Name: tomb figure (minqi)
- Production Place: China
- Creation, production or manufacture details: moulded
- Production Period:
- Summary: owl figure, with detachable head. This is a burial object or 'mingqi'. Grey unglazed earthenware, the body joined together in the centre and incised decoration to show feathers and facial features. Han figures of owls are comparatively rare.
- Terms:101 Ceramic Highlights
- Additional Notes: During the Han Dynasty, the burial of precious materials was forbidden and earthenware models were used instead. These created a model form of dwelling and give a picture into the beliefs and burial customs of the Han elite. The owl is not an auspicious animal in Chinese culture and is associated with the spiritual world. Early ritual bronze wine vessels exist in the form of owls, dating from the Shang dynasty (17th ? 11th century BC). Like their earthenware counterparts, these were also used as burial goods. Mingqi, or ?spirit utensils? were placed in tombs alongside tomb architecture that aimed to comfort and satisfy the deceased. The figures take many forms from people and animals to everyday objects and buildings. Because of this, mingqi can be an excellent way for archaeologists to examine the regional fashions, styles and architecture of the period.
- Additional Notes: China was first unified under the brief, 15 year, Qin Dynasty. Under the subsequent Han Dynasty, 206 BC ? 220 AD, the unified China expanded, became more prosperous and enjoyed new innovations in technology, agriculture, philosophy and art.
- Contact: Potteries Museum and Art Gallery