Asian Antiques Appraisals And Valuations

Tang Dynasty: When Pottery Ruled

The Tang dynasty (A.D. 618 to 906) was unlike any other era in China, or in the world for that matter. It was a time of peace, prosperity and thriving international trade.

The Tang Empire was very powerful and very rich. It had a mighty army. Its borders stretched from the Caspian Sea in the west to Korea in the east, and from Manchuria in the north to Vietnam.

Like Constantinople, the Tang capital city of Changan (the modern Xian) had two million inhabitants, about what it has today. The government supported a large class of Confucian literati who served as civil servants and ran the country well. The crime rate was at an all-time low, with prisons reportedly empty. Inflation was under control. The poor had enough rice to eat and the ability to pay taxes.

It was one of the most sophisticated periods of Chinese history. China attracted Persians, Indians and Jews.

The silk route opened China to foreign ideas, religions, culture and lifestyles. Foreign merchants established markets in Changan to sell exotic spices and aromatics, camels, horses, tropical birds, jewelry, ivory and furs.

The Chinese tended to be inward- looking. The Tang is one of the few dynasties that looked outward.

The first 137 years of the dynasty were also a golden age for Chinese art. Nowhere else in the world were they making better pottery at the time. Tang potters made elegant earthenware vessels for everyday use and sculptures for tombs, including the Tang horses and camels so prized in the West.

The potters also created figurines representing exotic foreigners, with their odd physiognomy, costume and customs. Sometimes the depictions of foreigners were like caricatures. Horse grooms, for example, could have had wildly curly hair, bushy beards, big noses or bulging eyes.

Many of the Tang ceramics on the market today are tomb sculptures and vessels. The Chinese did not hedge their bets. They planned for the afterlife years in advance, buying hundreds of pottery figures and sculptures.

The princes, princesses, wealthy ministers and distinguished nobles surrounded themselves with all the extravagances that money could buy, not only in life, but also in death.


Chinese Antique Valuations And Appraisals

Do you own a piece of Chinese porcelain or an oriental work of art that you would like to know more about, such as age, history and value?

Then you should really consider using our Chinese Antique Valuation Service as the last thing you want to do is risk under selling the piece due to lack of knowledge or ill gotten advice.