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Asian art

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Offering tray

circa 618 CE-907 CE


Unknown Artist


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.


Place where the work was made



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' Fund 2004


Not on display

Accession number



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 5 publications


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.).

Guiseppe Eskenazi, A dealer's hand. The Chinese art world through the eyes of Giuseppe Eskenazi, London, 2012, 261 (colour illus.). pl. 220

Wang Xiaomeng and Iain M. Clark, TAASA Review, 'Unsurpassed brilliance: Tang dynasty sancai discovered at Xi'an and Luoyang', Sydney, Dec 2017, 17 (colour illus..

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