Tang Sancai-Glazed Female Figurine


A finely moulded Tang Dynasty sancai-glazed figurine of a female court attendant, depicted standing in a reverent pose, with both of her hands held below her chest, and wearing the traditional Tang Dynasty court attire, known as ruqun. A light shawl, rendered in deep-green coloured glaze is worn down the shoulders. Her hair is neatly combed into a coiffure of two topknots. Her unglazed face is covered with white pigment, on which thin, slightly arched eyebrows, narrow eyes and pointed nose have been outlined in black pigment. Light reddish-pink pigment has been applied on her cheeks and her small mouth has been painted in red pigment. The statuette is rendered in sancai technique, displaying a lovely brilliant green and ochre glaze.

Date: Circa 618-906 AD
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Extremely fine, glaze still visible to the surface. The piece has been TL tested at laboratory Kotalla.

In stock

Grave goods were an important status symbol in ancient China, so the affluent and important would be accompanied in their travels through the afterlife with numerous depictions of people, items and animals. Such terracotta figures were made for the service and entertainment of the owner, ensuring that their journey in the underworld was a happy one. Terracotta tomb attendants seemed to have first appeared during the Western Han Dynasty. However, it is during Tang China that the cultural tradition of displaying wealth in elite tombs reached its peak, with an increased production of terracotta statuettes. Sancai-glaze technique, also known as Three-Colour glaze, is one of the great achievements of Tang pottery production. On figures rendered in sancai technique, faces were often left unglazed, as the consistency of the glaze itself made small details difficult to render. The unglazed faces would have been then painted after firing, allowing more precise details.

To discover more about Tang statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.

Weight 323.6 g
Dimensions W 5.6 x H 21.3 cm



Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item, Sotheby’s, June 2020, Lot 855.

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