Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tang Figure of Seated Woman

1. China, Tang Dynasty. Figure of a seated woman holding a bird, first half of 8th century earthenware with sancai (three-color) lead-silicate glaze H: 40.6 W: 17.9 D: 15.6 cm
This sensitively observed figure of a court woman offers insights into the cosmopolitan, wealthy lifestyle of the Tang dynasty (618–907) elite in the first half of the eighth century. Made as a burial good, this sculpture reflects competition among the Tang aristocracy to display numerous expensively crafted earthenware figures in funerary processions—grander objects indicated higher family status.Early eighth-century potters achieved a high point by imbuing ceramic figures with considerable naturalism and fidelity, despite using molds. Here, the double topknot and tie-dyed pattern on the woman's jacket realistically illustrate Tang fashion. The songbird she gazes upon alludes to Tang fascination with birds imported from India and the tropics.

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