of circular section, the instrument well hollowed with an aperture at the top, one side skilfully depicted with the face of a foreigner, the stern countenance picked out with piercing eyes beneath furrowed brows, centred with a prominent nose above a moustache and thick lips, the cheeks further pierced with two further apertures, the well-pronounced facial features framed by curly tufts of hair and a fleshy chin, covered in a pale sage-green glaze stopping short of the unglazed convex reverse
Galaxie Company, Hong Kong, prior to 1990.
Northern Qi whistles of this type modelled to depict a foreigner are unusual although a similar example from the Meiyintang Collection is illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection
, vol. 3, pt. 2, London, 2006, no. 1365. See also whistles modelled as monster masks, such as one attributed to the Tang dynasty, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum. Ceramics
, vol. 4, Sui, Tang and Five Dynasties
, Beijing, 2013, pl. 126; another covered in a black glaze illustrated in Liu Zunyi, Yaozhou yao/ Yaozhou Kiln
, Xi’an, 1992, p. 28 top right; and two sancai
examples illustrated in Xie Mingliang, Zhongguo gudai qian youtao de shijie
[The world of ancient Chinese lead-glazed wares], Taipei, 2014, pls 4.37 and 5.94.
Similar depictions of foreigners are discussed by Suzanne G. Valenstein in Cultural Convergence in the Northern Qi Period. A Flamboyant Chinese Ceramic Container, New York, 2007, pp. 48 and 49, where she suggests a Hellenistic prototype for these figures.