Chinese sancai, three-colour glazed pottery equestrian group, with Central Asian male rider modelled with his hands raised to hold the reins, wearing a green glazed long jacket with chestnut lapels, his face unglazed and heightened in black, white and red pigment, with detailed paint to his hair and Phrygian cap, fu tou, also in black tied at the back, the piebald horse standing with the head turned to the left with ears pricked and green splashes on a cream ground with three-colour saddle cloth and chestnut hoofs, the base unglazed.

15 1⁄2 inches, 39.3 cm high.

Tang Dynasty, 7th – early 8th century.

Fitted wood box.


Some glaze flaking, 2 chips near ear.

Provenance & Additional Information

  • Formerly in a Japanese private collection.
  • Included by Marchant in their exhibition of Chinese Ceramics Tang to Qing, 2014, no. 1, pp. 4/5.
  • The result of thermoluminescence test certificate no. C113j25 Oxford Authentication Ltd. is consistent with the above dating.
  • A similar horse with an equestrian drummer, also with a three-colour saddle cloth, in the Luoyang Museum, unearthed from a tomb at Longmen Dizhidui site, Luoyang, was included in the exhibition catalogue of Three-color Ware of the Tang Dynasty, The Henan Province Discoveries, 2004, no. 87, p. 118; two other similar equestrian figures, also excavated from tombs at Luoyang, are included in Luoyang Tang Sancai, pls. 30 & 31; another of this model with a splashed glaze, from the collection of Major H. F. Ward, was included by Eskenazi in their inaugural exhibition of Early Chinese ceramics and works of art, 1972, no. 19, pp. 42/3, and again by Eskenazi in their exhibition of Chinese works of art from the collection of J M A J Dawson, 1980, no. 24; two further examples from a well-known group of sixteen, said to have been excavated before 1943 near Luoyang in Henan Province, from the collection of John H. Wilkins, were included by Eskenazi in their exhibition of Chinese Art from the Reach Family collection, 1989, nos. 11 & 12, pp. 34-37, where it notes that others from the same group are in the Nelson Gallery of Art and Atkins Museum, Kansas City, the Freer Gallery, Washington D. C., the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass., the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, the Oberlin College Museum, Oberlin, and the Musée Guimet, Paris.