A rare glazed pottery figure of a foreign tribute bearer, Tang dynasty, 8th century

Lot 3227. A rare glazed pottery figure of a foreign tribute bearer, Tang dynasty, 8th century; 15 3/8 in. (39 cm.) high. Estimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000Price realised USD 47,500. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The well-modeled figure is shown standing on an unglazed rectangular base with his right hand holding a covered box with bud-shaped finial, the left hand concealed within his sleeve pointing at the box. He is dressed in a long amber coat with green lapels that is secured by a belt hung with a pouch on his right hip, and a tall, unglazed hat molded in front and back with scroll decoration. There are faint traces of pigment, box.

Provenance: J.J. Lally & Co., New York, 1992.

Exhibited: J.J. Lally & Co., New York, Chinese Archaic Bronzes, Sculpture and Works of Art, New York, 2 June - 27 June 1992, no. 19.

Note: This lively figure of a tribute bearer is depicted wearing foreign dress, with the open coat with wide lapels and tight sleeves commonly found in Tang pottery sculpture. The hat, however, is of an unusual form, identified by Ezekiel Schloss as belonging to a type worn by Uighur Turks, and illustrated in a line drawing by Schloss in Ancient Chinese Ceramic Sculpture from Han through T'ang, Vol. I, Stamford, 1977, p. 157, fig. 92. In place of the small bird usually found perched on the hand, as seen on the similar sancai-glazed pottery figure illustrated p. 43, fig. 8, the current figure presents a small covered box.

Christie's. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART, 15 - 16 March 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza