Camel, early 700s. Tang Dynasty (618–907), China.
Glazed earthenware; 2 1/4 x 7 3/4 x 18 in.
Denver Art Museum: Funds from 1983 Collector’s Choice, 1983.243
Early 700s, Tang dynasty (618–907)
Funds from 1983 Collectors’ Choice
Significant numbers of painted ceramic camels have been excavated in northern China, suggesting they were highly regarded in the Tang Empire. Indeed, these animals were the principle means of transportation for people and goods along the Silk Road from Central Asia. Since the heartland of the Tang Empire did not have camels, the beasts themselves were exotic to the Chinese. Their presence in tomb sculptures indicates that the deceased wished to continue to use them in the afterlife.