AGE: – Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD)
CONSTRUCTION: – Pottery
DESCRIPTION: – Tang Dynasty Amber Sancai Tri-Coloured Jar – Tail of the bird on the lid has a repair and chip, white calcification and glaze deterioration (see magnified images below)
HEIGHT WITHOUT LID: – 23cm
HEIGHT WITH LID:– 34cm
BASE DIAM: – 13.5cm
TOP DIAM: – 11.5cm
CIRCUMFERENCE: – 83cm
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Tang Dynasty Amber Sancai Tri-Coloured Jar with lid – During the Tang dynasty potters made huge advancements in the firing and glazing techniques of pottery and ceramics. It was during this dynasty that potters refined and mastered the technique of creating tri-coloured (sancai) earthenwares, resulting in the highly decorative and beautiful mixed colour effects, with the glazed pottery made more specifically for burial to accompany the aristocracy into the other life.
This three coloured effect was achieved by mixing different minerals with metallic elements such as copper, manganese, lead, iron and cobalt oxides. When the base colour was fired, metal oxides melted into the glaze to give the different colours. The content of various metallic elements also influenced the colours. Copper oxide produced a green colour, whilst iron oxide produced amber or a brown yellow colour, blue cobalt oxide was expensive and used sparingly.
Tang sancai tri-coloured pottery was usually made with white clay and fired at low temperatures. As many of these pieces were made specifically for funerary purposes they were quite fragile and porous, which made them impractical for utilitarian use. The majority of tri coloured lead glazed pottery and ceramics made for burial purposes were made in three northern kilns.
It was during the Tang dynasty that high fired celedons were perfected, paving the way for the sophisticated celedons produced in the Song Dynasty.
This earthenware has a strong earthy smell and passes the wet test mentioned on Gotheborg