• Tomb Guardian with Animal Head, late 7th or early 8th century. Ceramic, sancai ware (three color glaze); 36-5/16 x 17-3/16 x 16-7/16 in. Gift of various donors to the department of Asian Art (by exchange) 2000.118.1
A

Tomb Culture of Ancient China

Grade Level: 
7–12
Student Level: 
Middle School

Students are introduced to selected objects found in ancient Chinese tombs as a way of surveying history from the late Neolithic era (3000 BC) to the Tang dynasty (618-907). These objects reveal the contents of ancient tombs and shed light on similar types of items used for daily life. In addition, these tomb goods-ritual vessels, figurines, and musical instruments-represent exemplary workmanship in jade, bronze, and ceramics. Working methods with these materials are also explored.

Program Format: 
  • Introduction of Neolithic culture.
  • Interactive discussion of concept of afterlife.
  • Examples of ancient Chinese objects and the materials and techniques used to create them.
  • Interactive discussion and examples of the relationship of court life to tomb goods.
  • Writing Chinese characters interactivity.
  • Discussion of Tang Dynasty ceramics.
Objectives: 
  • Students will be able to describe the concept of the afterlife and explain why tombs were repositories for valued objects.
  • Students will be able to identify various periods of Chinese history, such as the Shang and Tang Dynasties.
  • Students will be able to identify several types of materials and techniques used by ancient Chinese artisans to construct useful objects and grave goods.
  • Students will be able to discuss the continuity of Chinese tomb culture over several centuries.