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An image of Offering tray by
Alternate image of Offering tray by


Offering tray
Place of origin
Tang dynasty 618 - 907 → China
circa 618 CE-907 CE
Media category
Materials used
earthenware with sancai (three colour) glaze; amber, green and cream

33.7 cm diam.

Edward and Goldie Sternberg Chinese Art Purchase Fund & Asian Collection Benefactors 2004
Accession number
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

This is large circular 'sancai' (three-colour) lead-glazed offering tray standing on three elegant curving feet. The outstanding feature is the decoration of a central stylised floral medallion surrounded by lotus leaves, this encircled by three rings of four-petal floral motifs, a plain cream colour glazed cavetto and a broad rim with two rings ornamented with quatrefoil floral motifs. A noticeable feature is the technique of incised linear outlines for the design elements which allows for a more precise application of the coloured glazes. These designs illustrate the Tang aesthetic and the influence of Sassanian decorative styles. They compare with similar designs and motifs on contemporary Tang metalwork, ceramics, silks and on the decorative elements of Buddhist art - for example on murals and paintings at the Dunhuang cave temples. The underside and the feet are entirely covered with a rich amber glaze.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2004.

Bibliography (3)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2005, Sydney, 2005, 26 (colour illus.).

Yin Cao, The Connoisseur and the Philanthropist: 30 years of the Sternberg Collection, 'Chinese Art', pg. 12-23, Sydney, 31 Jan 2014, 15 (colour illus.).

Liu Yang, Look, 'Offering tray from China', pg. 25, Newtown, Jul 2005, 25 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (2)

The connoisseur and the philanthropist: 30 years of the Sternberg Collection of Chinese Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 Jan 2014–27 Apr 2014

Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–05 Sep 2015