Tall pottery towers and other architectural models were popular during the Eastern Han dynasty (A.D. 25-220). These along with ceramic replicas of houses, human and animal figures, cooking implements, and bronze ceremonial vessels were created to be placed inside the tomb to accompany the deceased into the afterlife.
Called ming-ch'i (burial objects), these ceramics replicated the world of the living, and were meant to create a familiar and comfortable tomb environment for all eternity. Han tombs containing architectural models, some quite large and elaborate, have been excavated throughout China.
The tall towers made of reddish earthenware covered with green glaze are typically northern in origin, coming from Hunan, Shensi and Hopei provinces. The examples from south China will tend to be only one or two stories in height and be made of unglazed red or grey earthenware.
Models such as these provide a great deal of information about Chinese architecture and daily life, as it existed over two thousand years ago.