09 novembre 2018

A pottery figure of a court lady, Tang Dynasty (618-907)


Lot 10. A pottery figure of a court lady, Tang Dynasty (618-907); 33cm (13in) high. Estimate £4,000 - 7,000. Sold for £ 8,750 (€ 10,038). © Bonhams.

The plump figure standing with her head turned slightly to the side, the hands positioned within her long sleeves as if to hold an offering, clad in voluminous high-waisted robes defined by a long pleated skirt falling above the upturned slippers, the well-rounded face defined by delicate features beneath a shield-shaped coif surmounted by a crescent chignon, with traces of coloured pigments remaining.

ProvenanceBluett & Sons Ltd., London
Carter Fine Art Ltd., London, 1996
Jean-Yves Ollivier Collection.


Image after Bluett & Sons Ltd. brochure

NoteThis somewhat portly female figure represents the ideal of beauty during the Tang dynasty, which was often associated with Yang Guifei, one of China's great beauties and the influential concubine of the Tang emperor Xuangzong (r. 712–756). At this time, the ideal of voluptuousness was considered beautiful and greatly influenced the fashion for the plumper lady. A related pottery figure of a court lady, Tang dynasty, from the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Diao Shi Ru Sheng: Gugong Cang Sui Tang Taoyong, Beijing, 2006, no.41, p.95. Another pottery figure, Tang dynasty, displaying a similar hair style as the present lot, is illustrated in the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Exhibition of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, 1982, p.21, no.4. 

A related but larger figure of a pottery lady displaying a similar hair style to the current example, was sold at Christie's New York, 21 March 2002, lot 100. 

The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminescence test no.C118j29, dated 1 August 2018, is consistent with the dating of this lot. 

Bonhams. The Ollivier Collection of Early Chinese Art, London, 8 Nov 2018

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