Han Period Terracotta Figure of a Mule

SKU DK.073

150 BC to 100 AD


5.5″ (14.0cm) high x 7″ (17.8cm) depth





Gallery Location

S Korea


The Han dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China (206 BC–220 AD). Spanning over four centuries, the Han period was an age of economic prosperity and saw a significant growth of the money economy, thus it is rightly considered a golden age in Chinese history. The emperor was at the pinnacle of Han society. He presided over the Han government but shared power with both the nobility and appointed ministers who came largely from the scholarly gentry class. The Han Empire was divided into areas directly controlled by the central government using an innovation inherited from the Qin known as commanderies, and a number of semi- autonomous kingdoms. To this day, China's majority ethnic group refers to itself as the “Han people” and the Chinese script is referred to as “Han characters”. Han animal terracotta figures are famous for their style and recognised as being amongst the finest of all ancient Chinese ming qi art. This powerfully created Han Dynasty mule, in a naturalistic style and dating to 150 BC – 100 AD, has an imposing sense of monumentality, accentuated by its rectangular base. The animal is captured in all it’s down-to-earth utilitarian efficiency, with powerful musculature, angular jaw and a dignified aura. Figures such as this were made to accompany the Han elite into the afterlife, providing protection and acting as a display of wealth and status.

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