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Large Chinese Tang Dynasty Terracotta Rooster w/ TL

East Asia, China, Tang Dynasty, ca. 618 to 907 CE. A mold-made terracotta rooster covered with remnants of white slip and faint red details on the head. Rendered in an alert, standing pose with an erect neck, the animal looks straight ahead with delineated wings folded to its abdomen with stylized feathers and presents an overall bold silhouette. Models such as this were known as "ming-ch'i" (or mingqui "spirit animals") and represented a central component of Chinese burial practices. A lovely example with nice traces of surface pigmentation. Size: 10.5" L x 5.75" W x 12.875" H (26.7 cm x 14.6 cm x 32.7 cm).

The subject matter of ming-ch'i are usually related to daily life and attests to the importance of raising livestock in ancient China. The ancient Chinese viewed the afterlife as an extension of their lives on earth, so mingqi reveal details about their daily lives and belief systems over the course of a thousand-year period. Mingqi emerged during the formative Han dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE) and continued to be created through the turbulent Six Dynasties period (221 to 589 CE) and the later reunification of China in the Sui (589 to 618 CE) as well as the Tang (618 to 906 CE) dynasties. As Xunzi, a follower of Confucius, aptly stated, "One adorns the dead as though they were still living, and sends them to the grave with forms symbolic of life."

This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.

Condition: Repair to part of one foot, with second foot reattached at ankle, and head reattached at neck, all with small chips, light stabilizing material, and light adhesive residue along break lines. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, small nicks to feet, tail, body, and head, with fading to finer details, and losses and fading to pigmentation. Nice earthen deposits throughout. Two TL-test drill holes, one beneath one foot, and one behind tail near top feathers.

Provenance: private Boulder, Colorado, USA collection

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