This flattened pear-shaped vessel has a blind spout in the shape of a phoenix head. An arched handle joins the bird’s head to the upper portion of the body; the solid foot is high and splayed. Two low-relief panels ornament the sides: one shows a phoenix standing on a lotus blossom, the other a mounted archer shooting backward in the classic “Parthian” pose. The vessel is covered in the standard Tang sancai (three-color) glaze that includes shades of amber, yellow, and white. A considerable amount of blue and green has been effectively employed, most notably as background coloring in the relief panels. The glaze extends over the entire object, ending at the top of the high foot to reveal an unglazed light beige body. Unfortunately, the ewer has suffered extensive damage, and the restorations have deteriorated significantly. This type of ewer is well known; it can be documented, for example, by a similar vessel that was unearthed in 1961 from a Tang-dynasty tomb in Luoyang, Henan Province.(1)
Catalogue entry from: Suzanne G. Valenstein. The Robert Lehman Collection. Decorative Arts, Vol. XV. Wolfram Koeppe, et al. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 294.
Note: 1. Chūgoku tōji zenshū. Chūgoku tōji zenshū (Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics). Edited by Shanghai Renmin Meishu Chubanshe. Vol. 7, Tang sancai (Tang Three-Color Ware). Kyoto, 1983, pl. 62.
[Ton-Ying & Company]; Ton-Ying sale, American Art Association, New York, 29-30 January 1926, lot 388, ill.; [Ton-Ying & Company]; Ton-Ying sale, American Art Association, Anderson Galleries, New York, 24-25 January 1930, lot 391, ill. Acquired by Robert Lehman from the 1930 Ton-Ying sale.