Sancai Ware of the Tang Dynasty

The Tang dynasty brought with it an expansion of power and reunification of China begun with the Sui. Art and literature paired with extensive trade routes lead to a flourishing of culture and prosperity. In the production of Sancai ware potters used imported lead frits to make low fire glazes with bright and long-lasting colors. The term, meaning tri-colored ware, is in fact a misnomer originating from the time of rail expansion in China. Tombs and the tomb goods were unearthed during excavations for the rail beds and the workers gave the name to this particular type of ware. By the time other colors were discovered on the same type of ceramics the name had stuck. In this beautiful example from the Shanxi Provincial Museum we see the swelling and voluptuous form characteristic of Tang vessels can be seen accentuated by the running glazes.