Male Court Official / Painted Pale Pottery

Tang Dynasty 唐 (618-907)

34 ½ inches high

Provenance: A Private Florida Collection

Christie’s, New York, 27 November 1991, lot 292


Standing with hands clasped at his chest below a floral breast plate held by straps over his shoulder connected to a green-painted back plate to his reverse, which echos the green painted to his baggy sleeve linings, his shoes upturned and poking out from below his long robes, all supported on an integral and unusually vibrantly depicted rockwork base, his face smiling and with delicately cut and painted facial features below his tightly coiffed hair held beneath his simple headgear.

The magnificent details of this unusual figure suggest a tomb of some importance. For a pair of similar figures from the tomb of a Tang official Li Siben, buried in 709 CE in Xingyuan village near Yanshi, Henan Province, see Kaogu, 1986, no. 5, pl. VII:2. Compare also, another figure of this size and type, but with differing details of clothing from the Eumorfopoulos Collection, illustrated by Ayers, Far Eastern Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1980, col. Pl. 10


The result of an Oxford thermoluminescense test no. 566u20 is consistent with the dating of this lot.