Chinese collection

Item LL 6578
detail of surface of figure of item LL 6578

Accession no: LL 6578
Object type: Ceramic
Name: Figure of a Bactrian camel
Materials: Earthenware with lead glazes
Place made: Shaanxi province, China
Date made: Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD)
Measurements: H. 58 cm, L. 37 cm

Description: Tomb figure of a Bactrian camel, in glazed earthenware, standing with head thrown back and mouth open, with a saddle-cloth thrown over its back, splashed with green and yellow; its body is coloured yellow and brown.

Tang lead-glazed earthenwares are known in China as sanci wares - san meaning three, cai meaning colours. Much of China's trade with the West in the Tang dynasty used camels, and the camels must have been familiar sights in the northern cities. When railways were built across north China in the 1920s thousands of glazed Tang tomb wares were uncovered. Many were shipped to Western museums where they give a spectacular view of Tang ceramic art.

R. H. Benson Collection; his sale, Christie, 1 July 1924, lot 72, purchased by Frank Partridge & Sons for Lever, £63; by whom gifted to the Lady Lever Art Gallery, 1922.

R. L. Hobson, Chinese Porcelain and Wedgwood Pottery with Other Works of Ceramic Art, London: B. T. Batsford, Ltd., 1928, No. 25A.