Height: 14 inches, 35.6 cm


Pottery figure of a seated female with a dog

China, Tang dynasty, 618 - 906

A pottery figure of a female, seated on a waisted stool, dressed in all-enveloping robes and a shawl. She holds her arms before her, wrapped in the sleeves of her robe, and cradles a small recumbent dog.  Her feet pop out from underneath the hem of the robe, shod in extravagant shoes with trefoil finials.  Her hair is done up in an elaborate arrangement with a bow at the front. Her face has a demure expression. The greyish pottery is covered in a layer of white slip, decorated with tiny remnants of orange and black pigments. The stool has a carved decoration of stylised floral scrolls.

It is unusual to find an unglazed pottery lady in a  seated position and even more unusual a female figure cradling a small dog. There is an unglazed pottery figure of a seated lady holding a mirror in the collection of David Dewey.[1] Ladies in standing position cradling dogs do occur; perhaps the best-known example is in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum.[2] Her elaborate shoes resemble a pair of miraculously preserved Tang dynasty “three-cloud” fabric shoes with equally elaborate decoration, excavated in Asitana, Turfun, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, illustrated in the book of David Dewey’s collection, which also illustrates a pottery lady of ample proportions holding a small child.[3] A seated marble female figure, playing with a child, is in the same collection.[4]

Oxford Thermoluminecense certificate: C123h62

  1. Jacobsen, R.D. Celestial Horses and Long Sleeve Dancers, Hong Kong 2013, p. 180
  2. Medley, M. T’ang Pottery & Porcelain, Faber and Faber, London, 1981, no. 40, p. 50
  3. Jacobsen, R.D. op cit, p. 183
  4. Jacobsen, R.D. op cit, p. 189