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Monochrome | Important Chinese Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 301. A sancai-glazed 'phoenix and equestrian' ewer, Tang dynasty  | 唐 三彩鳳首壺.

A sancai-glazed 'phoenix and equestrian' ewer, Tang dynasty | 唐 三彩鳳首壺

Auction Closed

November 2, 04:07 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 GBP

Lot Details


A sancai-glazed 'phoenix and equestrian' ewer

Tang dynasty

唐 三彩鳳首壺

Height 33 cm, 13 in.

Sotheby's London, 2nd March 1971, lot 119.

The Toguri Collection.

Sotheby's London, 9th June 2004, lot 73.




Modelled in the form of a Sasanian metal ewer and applied with Hellenistic-inspired decoration, this ewer embodies the commercial and cultural exchange that characterises the art of the early Tang dynasty. Margaret Medley in Metalwork and Chinese Ceramics, London, 1972 (p. 4), discusses the far-reaching effect on Tang potters of the opening of diplomatic relations between the Chinese Emperor Yangdi of the Sui dynasty (581-618) and the Sasanian Persian Empire (224-651), which led to the exchange of tributary gifts as well as the arrival of Persian craftsmen at the Imperial court in the Tang capital Chang'an (today's Xi'an, Shaanxi).

Compare two ewers of this model included in the Illustrated Catalogues of Tokyo National Museum: Chinese Ceramics, vol. I, Tokyo, 1988, pls. 220 and 221; and another in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, illustrated in The World's Great Collections: Oriental Ceramics, vol. 8, Tokyo, 1982, pl. 23.