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Fat lady dressed in blue with a bird, Tang dynasty


Tang dynasty 7-10th century AD

34.5cm high

Description: This Tang dynasty court figure known as the fat lady stands with natural body curve. One hand is holding a bird painted in brown, while the other hand is also lifted trying to catch the bird’s attention. She has a fully rounded face surrounded with an elaborate coiffure having a large top knot. She clearly shows an idle expression and is giving the bird a sideways look. The pigments of her eyes, eye brows and lips remain lively. The long and high-waisted robe hangs down to the floor, but her toes are uncovered. The robe with deep folds is applied with cobalt blue glaze in layers. Similar pottery figures from Tang dynasty are common but those with blue glaze are very rare. The cobalt blue was imported from Central Asia and highly valued. Therefore, the similar figures with blue glaze tend to be in much smaller size compared to those painted only with colour pigments or with sancai glaze.

Provenance: An American collection

Reference: For a similar object of this type, see Chinese Glazes, Their Origins, Chemistry, and Recreation, Nigel Wood, 2011, P237

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