**Originally Listed At $1200**
East Asia, China, Han Dynasty, ca. 206 BCE to 220 CE. A finely modeled terracotta cart that is equipped with a yoke as well as an ox to pull it. The cart has large separately made wheels and a broad flat roof with a large open interior for storage. The ox is nicely rendered and realistic, poised for labor. Sculptural effigies of animals like this one were traditionally interred in the tombs of the elite. This ox was intended to serve as a beast of burden for all eternity. Size: 17" L x 7.5" W x 18.125" H (43.2 cm x 19 cm x 46 cm); 8.625" H (21.9 cm) on included custom stand.
Tomb attendants like this one are part of a class of artifacts called mingqi - sometimes known as "spirit utensils" or "vessels for ghosts". They became popular in the Han Dynasty and would persist for several centuries. Alongside figures like this one were musicians, athletes, animals, structures etc. Even though they were mass produced, mingqi of the Han Dynasty often show a high level of detail and naturalism. These were designed to assist the po, the part of the soul of the deceased that remained underground with the body while the hun, the other part of the soul, ascended. Scholars believe that caring for the po took on on a new level of meaning in the Han period, with more elaborate rituals and tomb construction arising.
Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA, purchased in May 2015; ex-Artemis Gallery; ex-private Hawaii, USA collection
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Ox, cart, and wheels are not attached to one another. Cart and yolk repaired from multiple pieces with restoration over the break lines. Wheels appear to be in good condition (if repaired and restored, then expertly done). Nice surface deposits as shown.