Antique Ming Dynasty Earthenware Horseshoe Chair, China (3331BOK) $685


H: 7.375″  W: 4.375″  D: 3.75″ | FREE SHIPPING!

Often ancestral figures were portrayed sitting in horseshoe chairs to reflect the high status of the figure they were portraying. As many earthenware mingqi, this well-modeled chair has a liberally applied thick green glaze resulting in expected drips around the stretchers. The seat is decorated with a yellow glaze imitating caning and the decorative carved design on the splat also has a yellow glaze and a carved decorative “clocklike” circular design. The bottom of the seat and legs are not glazed, as is usual.  It is in very good condition with expected minor chips and minor glaze pitting and deterioration consistent with its age and long burial. It pairs perfectly with item 3330 and together would add to a fine collection of Chinese ceramics.


This miniature earthenware mould made horseshoe chair is an example of mingqi, a Chinese term for an object made specifically for burial purposes. Literally translated as, “items for the next world” or “spiritual utensils” mingqi are miniature models of items used in everyday life like furnishing, utensils, offerings, livestock, buildings, etc. made specifically for placement in tombs of wealthy Chinese to be sure they were surrounded in their afterlife in the enhanced environment they enjoyed during their life on earth. Chinese strict belief in life after death, ancestor worship, filial piety and the survival of the soul of the deceased in the afterlife resulted in ancestral funerary practices requiring families to honor the spirit of the dead and provide for the deceased soul’s comfort and happiness with abundant grave goods that would include miniature ceramic renderings of sustenance, tools, weapons, servants, animals, mystical beings, dancers and warriors and a huge variety of other everyday items. This is a a simplified but accurate miniature model of a Ming Dynasty horseshoe chair that would have been made of hardwood and constructed with a horseshoe-shaped top rail ending in a curving, fanciful and striking decorative spiral.  The curved splat of the chair might have either carved or pierced motifs or medallions and straight or curved rails joining the legs in pairs at the same height on each side. This item pairs well with Ming Dynasty Earthenware Horseshoe Chair 3330.


Albert E. Dean, “Chinese Beliefs in the After World” in The Quest for Eternity, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1987,

Jan-erik Nilsson, Mingqi-Items for the next world,

Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Ming Dynasty


15-16th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 7.375" W: 4.375" D: 3.75"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 18.73cm W: 11.11cm D: 9.26cm




Very good, losses from wear and use, no restorations/repairs

Item Number


Shipping Box Size