Tang sancai refers to the tri-coloured glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A. D.), a painted earthenware which appeared in the wake of celadon. It is called “tri-coloured ” because yellow, green and white were normally used, although some pieces are also in two or four colours. Developed on the basis of the green and brown glazed- pottery of the Han Dynasty, it represented a peak in the development of Chinese ceramics and was already well-known in the world in its time.
Unearthed tri-coloured Tangs are usually horses, camels, female figurines, dragon-head mugs, figurines of musicians and acrobats, and pillows. Of these, the three-coloured camels have won the greatest admiration. They are presented as bearing loads of silk or carrying musicians on their backs, their heads raised as if neighing; the red-bearded, blue-eyed drivers, clad in tunics of tight sleeves and hats with upturned brims, reproduce true-to-life images of men from Central Asia of that time as they trudged along the Silk Road to the tinkle of camel bells.
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