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Tang Tri-colored Glazed Pottery

The Tang Pottery Replicas is a famous souvenir in Xian. Xian's proud tradition as the capital of the Tang Dynasty is kept alive today by modern day replicas of Tang Dynasty pottery. Tang Dynasty pottery, with its distinctive blue, green, and yellow color glazes is still hand-made as it was during the Tang. Common themes include figurines and ceramic camels and horses. Tang Tri-color ware was produced at the height of the Tang Dynasty's strength and prosperity; the court was "pure and bright,"  society stable, the economy flourishing.

Tri-color Glazed Pottery Figures of the Tang Dynasty

As an art form, tri-color glazed pottery figures peaked under Emperor Xuan Zong, who happened to be an art lover and a womanizer at the same time and, probably under his influence, extravagance and wastefulness characterized the lifestyle under his reign. Female figurins produced during this period invariably have chubby faces and are in well filled-out shapes, with high hair buns, long skirts and composed facial expressions.

Nevertheless, even better known are tri-color pottery steeds produced during the Tang Dynasty. The four steeds unearthed from a tomb built in the year 723 for General Xianyu Tinghai are recognized as the most beautiful. These animals are all more than 50 centimeters tall. Two of them are white and the other two, yellow with white hooves, as well as white stripes round their long necks. The saddles and bridles are colorful with decorative patterns of golden flowers and leaves. Two of the horses have on their manes a three-flower pattern popular at the time, and the manes of the other two each bear a single pattern.

Tang Tri-colored Galzed Pottery

A type of glazed pottery with the dominant colors of yellow, brown and green was very popular in the Tang Dynasty(618-907). It was later called the tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty, or Tangsancai.

The Tang tri-colored glazed pottery is a low-melting glazed pottery. It was made by adding metallic oxides to the colored glaze and calcining the object to create different colors, namely the predominant yellow, brown and green. The chemicals in the glaze change gradually in the firing process, creating a variegated effect with a majestic and elegant artistic attraction. Tri-colored glazed potteries meant it was not as practical as the blue and white porcelain that had already emerged at the time.

Tri-colored glazed pottery utensils of the Tang were usually rounded and full in shape in accordance with the aesthetic values of the time. The accurately proportioned human and animal figures have fluid lines, natural expressions and life-like movements. The soldier figures have strong muscles, big staring eyes and wield swords or arrows. The female figures have high hair buns and full sleeves, they stand gracefully erect, looking natural and elegant. The animal figures are mainly of horses and camels.

Tang horses are among the most famous works of Chinese art. Made from ceramic, some are glazed in blue, green amber and have elaborate saddle blankets and tasseled bridles. Other are made of unglazed ceramic and thereby look more modern like a Rodin statute. The horses are often in frantic positions: with their heads raises and nostrils flared, or twisting around to get at something on their backs. Many had a grooved channel running the length of the arched neck, where a real horsehair mane was placed, and had a hole in their rear for a horsehair tail. Most are only around 15 inches tall.

A tri-colored glazed pottery of a camel and a dance group was unearthed in a Tang general's tomb. The camel is brown and stands with its head raised high. The long hairs on its head, chest, stomach and upper parter of its two front legs were carefully executed. on the camel's back is a platform covered by a rug with two ethnic musicians seated on it with their backs to each other playing instruments. A third ethnic person dances between them. The three human figures have deep eyes, high- bridged noses and full beards; they are wearing long, green sweaters with turned-down collars and white boots. The figure in the front has a deep yellow coat. This piece of pottery is truly an exquisite handcraft.

Tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty was mostly produced inXi'an,LuoyangandYangzhou, which were important cities along theSilk Road. The camel was the major form of transport on the ancient trade route during the Tang. From these gazed potteries, we can imagine the travelers and camels making their hard journey across the desert, depending on one another for survival. The large figures and camels' resolute expressions represent the hardships associated with traveling on the long road.

Tri-colored glazed pottery is the crest of Tang pottery and it flourished during the dynasty's early and middle period. As the Tang gradually lost power and its porcelain-producing technology developed, tri-colored glazed pottery declined. Though tri-colored glazed pottery was also produced during the Liao (916-1125) and Jin (1115-1234) dynasties, it was not made in such great quantity and its quality was not as good as that of the Tang.

Tri-colored glazed pottery was exported to foreign countries in the early Tang, winning great favor. It was always been famed for its bright colors and pleasing shapes. Tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty is a shining pearl among ancient Chinese pottery.

As the tri-colored glazed pottery continued to improve through the centuries, now it has been developed even further and its varieties number several hundred. The once tri-colour glaze has expanded to include yellow, purple, black and blue and its artistic quality has also soared.

Most tri-colored pottery was made for burial objects. But it was not as durable or as strong as porcelain, which was developed earlier. Most of this pottery, when unearthed, is in poor condition.

Tang tri-colored glazed pottery wares were usually round and full in shape in accordance with the aesthetic tastes of the time. The colors are bright and the figures are pleasing. The well-proportioned human and animal figures have smooth lines, natural expressions and life-like poses. The soldier figures are muscular, have big, staring eyes and wield swords or bows and arrows. The female figurines have high-piled hair and their clothing has full sleeves. The animal figures are mainly horses and camels.

Tang tri-color ware is broadly divided into two categories: ornaments and utensils of daily use. The items especially designed as funerary ornaments include funerary honor guards of civil and military officials, animal headstones, statues of the Emperor of Heaven, models, male, female and animal attendants, most of which were unearthed from Tang Dynasty tombs. The items are fired uncolored at temperatures between 1,000 and 1,100°C before being glazed, then placed in a kiln to be fired for a second time, at between800°C.and 900°C. Almost no changes in shape and the multi-coloring occurred during the post-glazing firing because the temperature of the post-glazing firing was lower than that of the pre-glazing firing. The colors of each of the glazes mixed and blended with one another, creating that luscious, extravagant phenomenon that is the distinct decorative flavor of the exceptionally splendid Tang tricolor pottery

The followings are some Tri-color Glazed Pottery replica products:

This Tri-color Glazed Pottery of Tang dancing figurine features an elegant royal dancer dancing with music. She wears the hair in two buns forming like rings; robe with flowing wide-sleeves exposes half of the dancer's chest. Her coquettish stature, tender look, one hand lifting up to head, another one naturally hanging by her side, feature a lovely scene of royal dancing only for the emperor of Tang dynasty. 

This horse sculpture is the replica of one of the most famous Tang Tri-color relics. Horse is a popular subject for Tang artisans. This Horse has a mane of thick colored hair; four strong legs , and is bending head to his left looking with fiery eyes.
Glazed in rich colors, the craftsman gives unique quality to this animal: a lantern-shaped and green glazed bell hung above the chest, a colorful blanket put under its saddle, and exquisite foliar patterns carved on the bottom of this pottery horse.



Tang Tri-color Pottery Replica, 'Phoenix Head Pot'
The original of the phoenix pot was designed in the golden age of Tang Dynasty using the technique of Tri-color Glaze. The top of the pot is shaped as a head of phoenix holding a diamond bead in mouth; a flower-like handle covers at the phoenix head.   
A scene of hunting is carved on the body of the pot.  A hunter riding on a horse is looking back and is ready to shoot a running deer with his bow; and a few flowers, birds and butterflies are adorned at the interspaces of the image. Meanwhile another two groups of floral patterns are painted on the neck and bottom of the kettle.

 This colorful galzed bowl with elements of persian design is a replica of Tang Dynasty relic. The bowl is hand formed and glazed using the traditional techniques, Tang Tri-color.
The elegant bowl is hand-painted in green color before the piece is fired, shaped as a big teacup with a green handle. The rim of the bowl is carved in wavy style, and embossed with the scene of traditional dancing. During the Tang Dynasty, China was a center of trade through the silk road. Tang's cultural was also influnced by foreign countries. From this bowl, we can see the inflence on homeware design from Perisa. 

 This Persian style Square Plate is glazed in traditional Tri-color Glazed Pottery of Tang, painting alluring floral patterns on the green grounding, showing the connection between two different cultures. Around the edges of plate, it is carved with vine-like pattern standing for the continual auspicious and rich; there is a blooming calliopsis in the middle of the plate; lots of delicate small flowers are adorned on each petal of calliopsis which looks just like a rolling kaleidoscope.

Tang Tri-color Pottery Replica, 'Persian Bowl'

This colorful galzed bowl with elements of persian design is a replica of Tang Dynasty relic.  The bowl is hand formed and glazed using the traditional techniques, Tang Tri-color. The elegant bowl is hand-painted in green color before the piece is fired, shaped as a big teacup with a green handle. The rim of the bowl is carved in wavy style, and embossed with the scene of traditional dancing.  During the Tang Dynasty, China was a center of trade through the silk road.  Tang's cultural was also influnced by foreign countries.  From this bowl, we can see the inflence on homeware design from Perisa.


Pottery Horse Statue, 'Woman Playing Polo'
This Tang Tri-color pottery statue features a woman on a horse playing polo.   The woman riding on the horse wears her hair in a bun, leans her body forward and ready to strike the ball.  The movement of the horse is very life-like, showing the horse running fast to chase the ball.  Read more...
Polo is  one of the oldest sports in the world. Chinese people started playing polo since  Han Dynasty (B.C. 206~A.D.220); polo gained popularity in Tang Dynasty. According to the historical records, many Tang emperors  were fascinated with the sport.  Polo was a part of the court life in Tang Dynasty for the royals.

Tang Tri-color ware was produced at the height of the Tang Dynasty’s strength and prosperity; the court was “pure and bright,” society stable, the economy flourishing.

Tang Tri-color Pottery Replica, 'Dragon Handle Pot'
This handmade pottery pot with dragon handle uses the traditional Tri-color ceramic technique from Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618~A.D. 907).  The handle shapes as one emerald green dragon crossing over the sleek bulbous body glazed in yellow color. The meticulously carved dragon head looks valorous and imposing; the whole body of this dragon is bent as the handle of this pot. Standing for auspicious signs, green floral patterns are embossed on the body of pot; the scene about the tour of Tang’s noble is adorned on two sides presenting the easygoing life of nobles

Travel Tips
If you are interested in how in the including Tang Sancai first place, you can discover it in the Xian Art Ceramics Factory. It is a good place to learn and have fun. You can actually join the work flow to make one by your own by following the original technique and process.
Shaanxi Provincial History Museum, one of the best history museums in China with more than 370,000 exhibits of different times and kinds, is the best place in Xian for ancient artifacts,


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