This incredibly rare and large sancai pottery funerary figure of the fabled Ferghana horse dates back to nearly 1,500 years to the "golden age" of Chinese ceramic craftsmanship. This exceptional figure would have been placed in the tomb of a great warrior, since this particular breed of horse was very important to the Chinese military. The Sancai technique dates back to the Tang Dynasty, and literally means "three colors". Used for prominent members of Tang society, the body of Sancai ceramics was made of white clay, coated with a layer of glaze. The polychrome effect was obtained by using as coloring agents copper (green), iron (brown, orange, and yellow), and less often manganese and cobalt (blue). When fired, these glazes would melt and run into each other, giving these extraordinarily scarce artifacts their distinct coloration. The vast majority of sancai pottery is found in museums and almost never becomes available for acquisition.
The results of Oxford Authentication Ltd. Thermoluminescence test, no. C299k11, accompanies this piece, and authenticates it as being created during the Tang Dynasty.
The Ferghana was one of China's earliest major imports, hailing from the Central Asian valley of the same name, now present-day Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Their agility and massive size were very attractive qualities for the Chinese to solidify their status as the military superpower of the period. Their appetite for the horse became so great, that the rulers of Ferghana closed their borders to equine trade. That move resulted in a war where China was victorious. From that moment on, the Ferghana became synonymous with power and military distinction.
25" length x 27 7/8" high
Sancai pottery was used primarily in the tombs of the more affluent members of society. During the Tang Dynasty (618-906 C.E.), the demand and appreciation for ceramics in China was at its greatest.