Two impressive painted pottery figures of court ladies, Tang dynasty (618-907)

Lot 593. Two impressive painted pottery figures of court ladies, Tang dynasty (618-907). The taller 16 1/4in (41.3cm) high. Estimate US$ 12,000 - 18,000 (€ 11,000 - 16,000)Unsold. © Bonhams 2001-2019

Each well-modeled, standing clad in long robes falling in folds over the feet, incised with a low neckline and a shawl over the shoulder, the full plump face with delicate features, accented with pigments to highlight the eyes and rosebud lips, beneath long hair drawn into an elaborate asymmetrical coiffure; one with hands held against the chest, hidden beneath the long sleeves; the other with hands held away from the body. 

Provenance: Collection of Ruth and Richard Dickes 
Acquired in New York City, 22 February 1999.

Note: The dating of one figure of this lot is consistent with the results of an Oxford Authentication Ltd Thermoluminescence test, sample no. C198x62, dated 27 August 1998.

Tang dynasty fashions and ideals of beauty are well-documented, having been preserved in the form of tomb figures. For two such figures from the same tomb dated to AD 748, see The Quest for Eternity: Chinese Ceramic Sculptures from the People's Republic of China, Los Angeles County Art Museum, 1987, cat. nos. 83 and 84, pp. 139-140. The dress and hairstyles of the present pair also closely resemble those of ladies depicted in murals on the walls of tomb no. 187, Astana, Turfan and now preserved in the Xinjiang Museum, illustrated in The Ancient Art in Xinjiang, China, Urumqi, 1994, p. 87, pls. 213 and 215.

Bonhams. Chinese works of art, New York, 18 March 2019, 10:00 EDT