T'ang Creme-Glazed Vase with Dragon Handles - H.1070
Origin: China
Circa: 618 AD to 906 AD
Collection: Chinese
Style: T'ang Dynasty
Medium: Glazed Terracotta

The T’ang Dynasty was a golden age of Chinese culture. The arts reached new levels of sophistication. Poetry and literature flourished under the enlightened rulership. The Silk Road brought fortunes into China on the backs of camels, carrying exotic luxury items from distant lands. Foreign merchants from across Central Asia and the Middle East settled in the urban centers of the T’ang China, foremost among them the thriving capital of Chang’an (modern X’ian), a bustling cosmopolitan center of over two million inhabitants. The T’ang Dynasty was a relatively stable period of great prosperity representing one of the greatest cultural flourishings in human history.

The legacy of the T’ang survives foremost in their tremendous artistic creations. This stunning terracotta vase is a testament to the artistic mastery of Chinese potters. The gently bulging body is refined in its smooth curves. Modeled after bronze examples, this vessel, covered in a delicate crème glaze, would have provided a more affordable alternative to its bronze counterparts. Although the body is unadorned, the handles take the form of stylized dragons. They bite down on the rim of the vase with their pointed mouths as if attempting to drink the precious contents of this container (most probably wine). This gorgeous vase reveals the refinement and luxury of the T’ang era, where sumptuous wines where enjoyed as much as the beautiful forms of the vessel that contained them. - (H.1070)