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Tang and Song Dynasties Collections

Pottery Courtyard

Pottery Courtyard

The Later Shu Period (934-965)

146 cm long, 112.5 cm wide, 45 cm high

Unearthed from the tomb of Zhao Tingyin in Longquanyi

District, Chengdu

This pottery courtyard is an enclosure of corridors consisting of a gate, multi-storey timber structures on both sides and a rear chamber. In the center of the courtyard stands the main attic. There is also pottery stove, pottery well and pottery horse distributed in the courtyard. Ancient Chinese people believed that “ritual service for the dead was as important as that for those alive”. Consequently, the objects that the deceased used while alive, or their replicates, were buried with them so the deceased could continue to use them in their afterlife. The tomb owner Zhao Tingyin was a meritorious statesman who contributed enormously to the founding of Later Shu. He served as Defender-in-chief and was one of the top three officials in the imperial court. This pottery yard is most likely a replica of the mansion he had lived in while alive. The structure is complete and exquisite; it is an epitome of Tang-Dynasty architecture. In the courtyard there is also Zhao's figurine and 15 standing male and female servant figurines with delicate designs, all colorfully painted and partially gold-outlined, reflecting the life of the nobility in the Later Shu period.