Height: 14 inches, 35.5 cm


Pottery figure of a groom

China, Tang dynasty, 618 – 906

A pottery figure of a groom, standing on an irregularly shaped base with his legs apart and feet pointing outwards. The figure is dressed in a long-sleeved coat over black trousers and raises his right arm as if holding the reins of a horse or camel.  He has a pot belly, which is reigned in by his belt. The figure’s face, which look slightly to the left, has full lips, a strong nose, a well-defined moustache and a beard. The hair is gathered underneath a tight-fitting cap, which ends in a top knot. There are abundant remains of black and orange pigments.

This fine and somewhat comical pottery figure was probably meant to depict a foreign groom and beautifully reflects the fascination Tang dynasty potters had with the many people of different ethnicity who visited China at the time. Comparable figures are in the collection of David Dewey.[1] The Tang era can be considered a golden age in the annals of Chinese history, when thousands of foreign merchants and artisans lived in Chang-an and other large cities of the empire. A pottery figure of a foreign groom dressed in comparable clothes is in the Meiyintang collection.[2]

Oxford Thermoluminecense certificate C123q90

  1. Jacobsen, R.D. Celestial Horses and Long Sleeve Dancers, Hong Kong 2013, p. 198
  2. Krahl, R. Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, Vol. One, Paradou Writing, London, 2006, no. 176 p. 110.