Lot 2070. A  large painted red pottery figure of a court lady, Tang dynasty (AD 618-907); 25 7/8 in. (85.7 cm.) highEstimate USD 50,000 - USD 80,000. Price Realized USD 47,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2014. 

The elegant figure stands on a flat, shaped base, with head turned slightly to the side and hands positioned within her long sleeves as if to hold an offering. Her long robes fall in heavy folds that emphasize the graceful sway of her body, and trail in a fan shape in back. The face is sensitively modeled with full cheeks, a small mouth and elongated eyes, and is framed by the stiff wings of her coiffure which is drawn up and then divided into two soft loops. The figure is covered in a white slip and has traces of pink and black pigment, wood stand.

Provenance: Sotheby's New York, 1 December 1992, lot 239.

Note: This stately, elegant figure exemplifies the ideal standards of beauty and fashion that prevailed during the high Tang period of the 8th century in China. During this period, a more voluptuous body type had become fashionable, which was reflected in women's robes being long and loose-fitting, and their hair was worn in fuller hair styles that framed the face. Other painted pottery figures representing this type of court lady are illustrated in The Quest for Eternity - Chinese Ceramic Sculpture from the People's Republic of China, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1987, pp. 139-40, nos. 83-84, and col. pl., p. 56. Several paintings on silk, from Turfan, of women that are similar in type to the present figure, depict them with pink cheeks, to indicate the use of rouge, which is seen on the full cheeks of the present figure. See The Ancient Art in Xinjiang, China, 1994, pp. 86-7, pls. 210, 213 and 215. And the hairdo of the present figure is very similar to that of a court lady of similar type painted on a Tang dynasty (784) mural at Wangjiafen, Xian, illustrated by P. Karetsky in Court Art of the Tang, Maryland, 1996, p. 274.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 20 - 21 March 2014