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AUA Oriental Art

Green and Ochre Glazed Altar Table with Offerings, Ming Dynasty, 15~16th Century

Green and Ochre Glazed Altar Table with Offerings, Ming Dynasty, 15~16th Century

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The table bearing pig head, rice cakes, dishes of meat, fish and fruit. Known as Mingqi, these terracotta models were customarily included in Chinese burial practices, particularly among the affluent, to aid the deceased in their journey through the afterlife. This tradition extends back to the Neolithic Period. A unique terracotta funeral table from the Chinese Ming Dynasty, dating to the 15th or 16th century, would serve as an exquisite decorative piece, ideally placed in a living room or dining area.

Period: Ming Dynasty (1368~1644)
Medium: Sancai-Glazed
Type: Mingqi
Size : 30 cm x 17cm(Diameter), 20cm(Height)
Provenance : Acquired in 1999, Hongkong

* Altar tables with offerings

Altar tables with offerings are a significant element in various Eastern cultures, reflecting deep-rooted spiritual and religious traditions. These practices are commonly found across many Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and others, each with its unique interpretations and rituals but sharing the fundamental idea of honoring ancestors, deities, or spiritual entities.

In Chinese culture, altar tables are prominently used in Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist practices. They serve as a focal point for performing rituals to honor ancestors and household deities. Offerings such as food, incense, and paper money are placed on the altar to provide for the spiritual needs of ancestors and gods, ensuring their blessings and protection in return. The Lunar New Year, Qingming Festival (Tomb-Sweeping Day), and Zhong Yuan (Hungry Ghost Festival) are among the occasions when these practices are most prominently observed.

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