Accession Number



Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
earthenware with sancai glaze

1 3/16 in x 2 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in (3.02 cm x 6.35 cm x 6.35 cm);1 3/16 in x 2 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in (3.02 cm x 6.35 cm x 6.35 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Ellen and Richard Laing

Subject matter
A sancai (三彩), or three color, glazed earthenware cosmetic box of the Liao dynasty (907-1125).  Boxes such as this were copying examples from the previous Tang dynasty (618-907).
From the mid-tenth to the early twelfth centuries, the Khitan Liao, a sinicized tribe of Mongol origin, ruled over much of north China. So powerful were the Liao that the contemporary Chinese dynasty of Northern Song (960-1126) regularly sent tribute north to keep the peace.
Liao pottery borrows heavily from Tang and Northern Song models, but Liao ceramic production also shows an originality and vitality that reflects the cosmopolitan nature of Khitan culture, particularly in the area of vessel shape. Liao potters adopted shapes from objects made in other materials and from objects of West Asian and Middle Eastern origin.

Physical Description
A white earthenware box where the cover and the body are almost identical in form, the entire vessel of a short cylindrical from with flat top, with subtle articulation at the shoulder, on a shallow footring.  It is covered in blue, amber, and green glazes applied in a splotchy manner. 

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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Sancai (Chinese ceramics style)
ceramic (material)
lead glaze
three-color ware (Chinese ware)

6 Related Resources

F19 Tsai - INTLSTD 401: The Globalized Ancient World
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
The Ceramic Road: Cultural Exchange in Asian Ceramics
(Part of: Exchange and Influence on Global Trade Routes)
Cabinet Q: Shelf 3
(Part of: Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery)
Tricolor Ware
(Part of: Tremel Ceramic Production Collection)

& Author Notes

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