A painted straw-glazed torso of a guardian, Sui-Early Tang dynasty, 7th century

Lot 1306. A painted straw-glazed torso of a guardian, Sui-Early Tang dynasty, 7th century; 13¼ in. (33.7 cm.) high. Estimate USD 6,000 - USD 8,000. Price realised USD 13,750. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011

Finely and crisply modeled, the face detailed in black with beard, mustache, eyes and scowling brows, his hands positioned and hollowed to hold weapons, wearing breast and back plates bound with cords and buckled straps, with animal mask epaulets at the shoulders, wearing a close-fitting leather helmet with long flaps that protect the neck, covered in a finely crackled yellowish straw glaze, and showing traces of pale blue, green, red and black pigments, with gilt highlights, wood stand.

ProvenanceThe Collection of Captain S.N. Ferris Luboshez, USN (Ret'd); Sotheby's, 18 November 1982, lot 72.
Sotheby's, New York, 9 December 1987, lot 215.
Greenwald Collection no. 4

LiteratureIllustrated in Arts of Asia, 1972, July-August, p. 29. Washington Post Magazine, 26 March 1972.
Gerald M. Greenwald, The Greenwald Collection, Two Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics, 1996, no. 4.

ExhibitedChinese Art from the Ferris Luboshez Collection, University of Maryland Art Gallery, 23 March - 30 April 1972, no. 76, fig. 6.

Note: An almost identical (complete) figure in the Royal Ontario Museum is illustrated by M. Medley, Tang Pottery and Porcelain, London/Boston, 1981, p. 53, pls. 43a & b. Another almost identical (compete) figure excavated in 1971 from the tomb of Zheng Rentai (dated 664), Liquan, Shaanxi province, and now in the Shaanxi History Museum, is illustrated in by James C.Y. Watt et al., China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 AD, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2004, pp. 292-3, no. 184(b). 

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I and Part II Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 24 March 2011.