Museum Object

1. Tomb Procession



Room / Case / #

33 / 31/

Unearthing the Past: Tombs, hoards, monuments and writings tell us much of what we know of ancient times

This large display cabinet is in the centre of the gallery at the far end. The gallery is laid out chronologically, with the oldest exhibits on your right as you enter and then getting more recent as you progress anti-clockwise round the gallery.

Our first object is a display of 12 tomb figures from the tomb of the general Liu Tingxun, who died in AD 728. This group includes two earth spirits,  ‘lokapalas’ (Buddhist guardian figures), civil servants,  horses, & camels and two grooms. Earthenware figures formed part of the funerary procession and were displayed on carts, the number and size of the figures determined by the rank of the deceased. The figures were moved into the tomb after the coffin was placed inside the burial chamber. The camel, see picture, is laden with the types of goods, including a pitcher for carrying liquid and some meat for the journey, that they would have carried over the Silk Roads. The Steppe horses were much in demand by the Chinese who traded silk for them.

Each figure is about 1 metre tall making a very impressive display – and frightening for any potential intruder.