Tuesday 7 November 2023

Lot 14

A rare and magnificent Chinese glazed pottery horse  Tang Dynasty  Powerfully modelled standing...

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Lot 14

A rare and magnificent Chinese glazed pottery horse 
Tang Dynasty 
Powerfully modelled standing...

Price Realised: £31,440

Estimate: £20,000 - £30,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (31.2% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 14


A rare and magnificent Chinese glazed pottery horse 

Tang Dynasty 

Powerfully modelled standing four square on a rectangular plinth, the head turned slightly, with unglazed bulging eyes and flaring nostrils, the hooves glazed in ochre.

79.5cm high.

Provenance: purchased at the Biennale des Antiquaires, Paris, late 1960s/early 1970s.

唐 釉陶馬


Standing four-square with neatly defined facial features and trim and powerful musculature, the present lot is at once exemplar of the prominent standing that horses had within Chinese society in the Tang dynasty, and of the plastic and sculptural accomplishments reached by the artisans of the period.

Horses had long been a coveted symbol of wealth and status in China, and a popular subject of painting and pottery sculpture since the Han dynasty. It is in the Tang dynasty, however, that representation of this noble animal reached its peak, to the point that Tang dynasty pottery horses, both glazed and unglazed, are now iconic. Despite the proliferation of horse sculptures during this period, the ownership of these was reserved for the aristocratic class through an edict of 667 which forbade artisans and tradesmen this right.

The magnificent proportions and accurate representation of the present horse mark it out as a sculpture that would have been produced for a family of exceptional wealth and rank. Whilst most examples are represented wearing elaborate saddle and trappings, the horse in the present lot is free of any encumbrance, allowing the sculptor free rein to represent its powerful spirit, at the same time showing off the artist's capacity to naturalistically render the anatomy of the animal.

Uncaparisoned, glazed examples of horses of this size are exceptionally rare, and none appear to have come to the market in the past few decades, although some examples are in museum collections worldwide.

Cf. Compare a smaller pair, 68.3cm high, sold by Sotheby’s New York, 23 March 2022 lot 313. A horse of similar size, covered in a yellowish-brown glaze, was in the collection of George Eumofopoulos and now in the British Museum, London, illustrated in William Watson, Tang and Liao Ceramic, London, 1984, pl. 220.

Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over £1,000 as follows:
0 to £50,000 - 4%
£50,000.01 to £200,000 - 3%
£200,000.01 to £350,000 - 1%
£350,000.01 to £500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding £500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at £12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website www.artscouncil.org.uk or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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