Antique Ming Earthenware Horseshoe Chair, China (3330BOK)


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

This charming miniature Ming dynasty ceramic horseshoe pottery chair is an accurate model of an impressive Ming chair that would have been made of a beautifully grained hardwood and constructed with a continuous horseshoe shaped top rail and a caned seat. The curved splat of a wood chair might have either carved or pierced motifs or medallions and straight or curved stretchers joining the legs in pairs at the same height on each side. Often ancestral carved figures were portrayed sitting in horseshoe chairs to reflect the high status of the figure they were portraying. This ceramic mingqi has a thick green glaze throughout which was liberally applied normal usual drips around the stretchers. The seat is decorated with a yellow glaze in imitation of caning as is the decorative carved design on the splat, but the bottoms of both the seat and legs are unglazed. The rail ends splay to the right and left for hand comfort and decorative effect are traditionally found in Ming Dynasty hardwood horseshoe-shaped chairs. It is in very good condition with minor chips and paint losses and fading due to its being buried underground in a tomb for centuries. It would be a fine addition to a collection of antique ceramics.


This miniature Ming Dynasty 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 furnishings, utensils, offerings, livestock and buildings, etc. made specifically for placement in tombs of the wealthy Chinese to be sure in their afterlife they were surrounded by the enhanced environment they enjoyed during their life on earth. The Chinese strict belief in the soul’s life after death, filial piety and the survival of the soul of the deceased in the afterlife resulted in 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 which would include miniature ceramic renderings of sustenance, tools, weapons, servants, animals, mystical beings, dancers, warriors and a huge variety of other everyday items. This is 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 piece pairs well with Ming Earthenware Horseshoe Chair 3331.


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, see description

Item Number


Shipping Box Size