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HOME : Chinese Art : Tang Dynasty : Tang period tri-coloured terracotta camel figurine, preparing to assume the kneeling position
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Tang period tri-coloured terracotta camel figurine, preparing to assume the kneeling position - MS.1952
Origin: China
Circa: 618 AD to 906 AD
Dimensions: 15" (38.1cm) high x 17" (43.2cm) depth
Collection: Chinese Art
Style: Tang Dynasty
Medium: Painted terracotta

Additional Information: C

Location: Great Britain
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Terracotta tomb figure of a camel kneeling on its anterior legs. The realistically represented animal stretches its long neck forward, on its back and between the two humps are visible bags loaded with merchandise. The Silk Road refers to a 5,000-mile interconnecting network of trade routes that linked Eastern Mediterranean to Central and East Asia. At it's zenith the Silk Route was the longest road in the world. Merchants traveling in caravans across the route’s wide expanse carried prized commodities like silk, tea, and jade from China, often exchanging them with other traders for gunpowder, paper, and glassware from the West. The main form of transportation in the caravans was camels. Camels were a key part of the success of these trade passages for despite their time-consuming training and high cost, they could carry more weight, walk on terrains more efficiently and needed less water than any other animal. This terracotta figure would have formed part of a retinue of funerary objects in support of a larger burial program, the goal of which was to comfort and satisfy the deceased, who in this case must have been a person of financial prominence given the expense of commissioning such an object – perhaps, an aristocrat, high-ranking officer or wealthy merchant. The variety of goods on its packsaddle boards between the characteristic twin humps of this Bactrian camel symbolizes prosperity and would have commanded great respect in the Underworld. - (MS.1952)


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