Tang Pottery Figure of a Court Lady 618 – 907, With an Oxford Thermoluminescence Test

A Tang Pottery Court Lady, Early to Mid 8th Century. Red Pottery with a Cream Coloured Slip and the Remains of Some Original Cold-Painted (Un-fired) Pigment, Possibly from the X`ian Area. The Figure Depicts a Robustly Built Lady in a Relaxed Posture Wearing a Long Loose Fitting Robe Which Gathers Near Her Ankles. Her Large Mass of Hair is Carefully Controlled with a Part of it Tied to One Side.


Condition: In exceptionally good condition with no repairs, minor chips to the base. The face has been re-touched.

Size: 38.5 cm (15 inches).


References:For a similar Tang Court Lady see : Bronze, Clay and Stone, Chinese Art in the C.C. Wang Family Collection (Annette L.Juliano, Hsi An T`ang,1988. ISBN 0-295-96805-2) plate 50. For another Tang figure of this type from a tomb dated to 748 in Gaolou village, Xi`an, Shaanxi province now in the Shaanxi Provincial Museum see : The Quest For Eternity, Chinese Ceramic Sculpture From The People`s Republic Of China (Editor Susan L. Carolli, Thames and Hudson, 1987) Page 140 plate 84.

Stock number: 20952

Tang Fat Ladies :
Tang figures of this type are often, rather unfalteringly, referred to as `Fat Ladies`. These voluptuously shaped pottery figures reflect changing tastes in female beauty during the early 8th century. As well as being based on a fuller figured woman, these Tang pottery sculptures show a new ease, being almost informal in there depiction but with a strong sense of presence. Perhaps reflecting a new confidence in women during the high point of the Tang dynasty.

Mingqi Pottery :
This piece is an example of Mingqi, objects made specifically for burial, to be taken with you to the afterlife. The `Terracotta Army` is the most famous example of this type of burial object. Mingqi objects represented people, houses, farms, granaries, livestock and indeed anything important from this world that would give you comfort and status in the next. The `Terracotta Army` were made life size and on a vast scale, reflecting the importance of the first emperor of China but most Mingqi objects were small models, far smaller than the object or indeed person they were meant to represent. Mingqi ceramics were not the only goods to appear in early Chinese tombs, objects that functioned were also buried, some of these had clearly been worn or even damaged, presumably these objects were prized possessions belonging to the deceased that might have been used on a daily basis.

T.L. Test :
A thermoluminescence (TL) test from Oxford Authentication Ltd supports the dating of this object. See `Links` for more details of the methods used for a thermoluminescence (TL) test and the details of Oxford Authentication Ltd.

Stock number: 20952.