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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
Han Dynasty Bronzes
Early Chinese Ceramics
Sculpture from Tombs
Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
Tang and Liao Dynasty Metalwork
Ceramics of the Song and Jin Periods
Porcelains of the Yuan and Early Ming Periods
Imperial Chinese Ceramics of the 15th Century
Ceramics of the Late Ming Period
Qing Dynasty Porcelain
Landscape Painting in China
Jade and Lacquer in China
Civil Official
North China; Tang period (618-906), 8th century
Earthenware with multicolored lead glazes and traces of pigment (sancai ware)
H. 40 3/4 in. (103.5 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
Many sculptures produced to decorate tombs during the Tang period (618-906) are coated with vibrant lead glazes known as three-color or sancai. This large standing figure of a civil official illustrates this technique. His outer robes were tinted amber-brown by adding an iron oxide to the glaze, while the green used to trim the sleeves of the robes was derived from copper. The cream color also used to trim the sleeves of the robes is the third color glaze. Certain areas were deliberately left unglazed, and the color of the earthenware body adds another element to the decoration, as the painting of the face and hat, although very little trace of those pigments remain. The large size of this figure and the use of a contoured pedestal suggest that this sculpture may have been in the tomb of a member of the court, if not the imperial family itself. The official's folded hands indicate that he was in a subservient position to the deceased; only someone of considerable status would have authority over a civil official.
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