Chinese Ming Terracotta Model Chairs

£ 450.00

A pair of Chinese Ming terracotta model chairs. Elegantly designed, these ‘minqi’ echo the form of functioning chairs, made for the aristocracy. Featuring a curved horseshoe frame and curved back support, the legs are formed into a x-shape, terminating in a footrest. The pair are covered in various pigments, with black glaze covering the majority of the frame and legs. A vibrant blue has been added to the footrest and the round panel on the back support, further embellished with an etched floral decoration, whilst the seat is an unglazed terracotta pale orange colour with an additional cross-hatched pattern.

The price is for the pair.

Date: Circa 1368-1644 AD
Period: Ming Dynasty
Condition: Extremely fine. Pigment remains vivid.


The Ming Dynasty played host to some of China’s most renowned artistic achievements. The culture’s artistic explosion can be in part explained by the Ming dynasty’s economic success. In ancient China it was common practice to bury terracotta miniatures of utilitarian and ornamental objects with the deceased. These objects were offered to assist and help the deceased in the afterlife, and they would have been modelled in the shape of cooking utensils, miniature replicas of their houses, as well as a range of furniture and other items. These particular chairs are modelled on a folding chair used in China, known as ‘jiaoyi’. Designed to be easily transported, hence the folding x-shaped legs, they were known as ‘hunters’ chairs and used whilst travelling. There were various levels of ‘jiaoyi’ used, ornate curved examples were used by the aristocracy. Example of model chairs have been discovered in stone, metal and wood. As a travelling chair they would have played an important part in the deceased’s journey through the afterlife.

Dimensions W 11.1 x H 18.2 cm

Central Asia



Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item 1937,0716.135

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