A_pair_of_large_amber_and_cream_glazed_pottery_figures_of_horses__Tang_dynasty__618_907__

Lot 268. A pair of large amber and cream-glazed pottery figures of horses, Tang dynasty (618-907); 22 in. (56 cm.) high. Estimate USD 70,000 - USD 100,000. Price realised USD 90,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2007

Each horse modelled standing foursquare on a rectangular base, the grooved neck arched, the head pulled in slightly and ears alertly pricked in opposite directions, the two attractively glazed in contrasting colors, one with an overall cream glaze with amber splashes on the face and hooves, the other in amber with streaked cream and amber forehead and cream hooves

Note: This is an exceptional pair of pottery horses, unusual in the complementary fashion the potter has contrasted the amber and cream glazes between each figure. Also worthy of note is that each horse has been depicted without trappings; most likely, the harness and trappings were made from perishable materials that have long since disappeared. See W. Watson, Tang and Liao Ceramics, New York, 1984, p. 200; and R. L. Thorp and V. Bower, Spirit and Ritual: The Morse Collection of Ancient Chinese Art, New York, 1982, pp. 66-7, which discusses bronze ornaments that were found near unadorned horse figurines in tombs.

For similar examples, compare a pair of horses published in Illustrated Catalogue of Tokyo National Museum, Chinese Ceramics I, 1988, nos. 202 and 203, and two others, one brown-glazed, one green and white-glazed, illustrated by M. Prodan, The Art of the Tang Potter, 1961, pl. 72. For a similar cream-glazed horse, yet with brown and green splashes, from the John D. Rockefeller III Collection, see Exhibition of Asian Art, New York, 1970, no. 35; another with brown glaze was included in the Exhibition of early chinese ceramics and works of art, Eskenazi, London, 1972, no. 25; and a pair also in contrasting colors from the Howard Gilman Foundation was sold in these rooms, 20 September 2002, lot 258.

The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminscence test no. C106c21 is consistent with the dating of this lot

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, New York, 22 March 2007