TANG DYNASTY 618 – 907. Tang Pottery

A Pair of Tang Pottery Musicians, Late 7th to Mid 8th Century. The Elegant Musicians Depicted Seated with Lose Robes and the Hair Divided into Two High Chignons at the Side of the Head. One is Playing Bo, Small Cymbals, While the Other Holds up Her Hands to Play a Dizi, a Bamboo Flute (Now Lacking).


Bo Cymbal player : Large section of the base re-stuck through her left knee, head re-stuck. Dizi Bamboo flute player : Flute now lacking, both hands re-stuck, head re-stuck.
Height (without stand) : 19 cm (7 1/2 inches)
Purchased in June 1952 from Spink and Son, London. A Private European Collection of Early Chinese Ceramics.
Stock number
For a very similar Tang cymbal player see : Fine Chinese Ceramics, Bronzes and Works of Art, Sotheby`s London, 9th December 1986, lot 66. The catalogue states "A lady playing the cymbals and in the same pose is included in the group of musicians and dancers with the same coiffure and robes unearthed in 1976 at Xucun..". This was the tomb of Li Shou in Sanyuan, Shaanxi province. For a similar pair of Tang Dynasty musicians see : see : Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection Volume 1 (Regina Krahl, Azimuth Editions, 1994) page 113, items 185 and 186.



Cymbals :
The Bo (bronze cymbals) were frequently used in Sui and Tang dynasties (6th to 9th century). The performer strikes the cymbals together. The most common type now is the jingbo (the prefix jing referring to Beijing, the prefix used to define the instruments in the Beijing opera). This type is clear and forceful in tone quality. It is also used in other regional opera genres and ensembles, and is one of the four major instruments (drum, large and small gongs and cymbals) in the jubilant luogu (gong and drum) music. In local operas, the luogu ensemble often accompanies acrobatic fighting.

Thermoluminescence Test :
A T.L. test supports the dating of these figures. The thermoluminescence (TL) test was carried out on one of the figures by Oxford Authentication Ltd. See `Links` for their website.